AP: Tigers Ranked No. 21

Clemson ends the season ranked as the No. 21 team in the country.

Clemson was ranked 21st in the final Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls released on Thursday.

It marks the third time in the last six years Clemson has finished in the top 25 and the 23rd season in the school's history. The #21 rankings are the highest for the Tiger program since 2000 when Clemson was 16th in AP and 14th in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

"We always talk about the final poll being the most important poll of the year and we are certainly happy that we were ranked in the top 25 this year," said Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden. "We finished with six wins in our last seven games, including four wins in a row to close the season so that should give us some momentum going into 2006.

"The final ranking and strong finish speak to the character and ability of our seniors. It is their second top 25 finish and they recorded seven wins over top 25 teams in the last three years. They certainly made a strong contribution to this program and have us on a firm foundation heading into next year."

Clemson won six of its last seven games for the first time since 1991. Clemson will return 17 starters and 48 lettermen for the 2006 season, including all five starters on the offensive line for just the second time in the last 11 years. The only other season that has been the case since 1996 was 2000 when Clemson had its highest final ranking under Bowden.

Clemson was unranked in the preseason poll, yet finished in the top 25 of the final poll. This marks the ninth time in Clemson history and just the second time since 1986 that Clemson has been unranked in the preseason then finished in the top 25 of the final poll. The only other year Clemson achieved such a comeback was 2003 when Clemson also won its last four games to finish with a 9-4 record and a #22 ranking in both polls.

Clemson was one of 10 schools to be unranked in the preseason poll, then finish in the final top 25 of the AP poll. The other schools to do it this year were Penn State, West Virginia, Alabama, Notre Dame, TCU, Oregon, Wisconsin, UCLA, and Nebraska.

Associated Press Top 25
2Southern California12-115601
3Penn State11-114843
4Ohio State10-214284
5West Virginia11-1132511
7Virginia Tech11-2119712
9Notre Dame9-310195
17Miami (Fla.)9-35899
18Boston College9-354519
20Texas Tech9-335918
23Florida State8-523222

Others Receiving Votes: Toledo 35, Tulsa 34, Michigan 26, Nevada 25, Navy 20, Iowa 19, Fresno St. 8, Virginia 7, Boise St. 3, Kansas 2, N.C. State 2, Northwestern 2, Arizona St. 1, Georgia Tech 1, Missouri 1, South Carolina 1, Utah 1.

CUTigers.com Top Stories