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How Kirby Smart, Nick Saban, ACC coaches voted Clemson football

Clemson football wound up ranked No. 12 in the final USA TODAY Sports’ Coaches Poll released on Tuesday, and here’s a closer look at how the Tigers ended up there.

The Tigers, who finished 11-3 after losing to Tennessee 31-14 to Tennessee in the Orange Bowl, received a wide range of votes from the 63 head coaches who participated in the poll, with a high of No. 7 and a low of No. 18.

It marked the 12th consecutive year that Clemson has been ranked in the final coaches poll of the season and the 11th straight year that the Tigers have finished among the top 16.

Not surprisingly, ACC coaches tended to rank Clemson higher than coaches from other conferences, led by Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi, who placed the Tigers at No. 7 along with Chuck Martin of Miami (Ohio).

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is not among the coaches poll voters.
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Louisville’s Scott Satterfield, whose team lost at Clemson 31-16 on Nov. 12, was the lone coach to have Clemson at No. 8 in his final ranking.

Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson, who is 0-9 against Clemson, voted the Tigers ninth, as did former Clemson assistant coach Rick Stockstill, who’s the head coach at Middle Tennessee, and three others – Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, Army’s Jeff Monken and San Jose State’s Brent Brennan.

Virginia Tech’s Brent Pry was among five coaches who had Clemson at No. 10 while Syracuse coach Dino Babers and Boston College coach Jeff Hafley both placed the Tigers at No. 12.
NC State’s Dave Doeren had the Tigers 15th and Duke’s Mike Elko, whose team will host Clemson next season for the first time since 2012, rated Clemson No. 16.

The vast majority of the poll’s voters – 14 – voted Clemson 13th, including Kirby Smart of national champion Georgia. Alabama’s Nick Saban put Clemson at No. 14.

Clemson’s lowest ranking came from Notre Dame’s Marcus Freeman, whose team administered the Tigers their most lopsided defeat – a 35-14 decision at Notre Dame. Freeman ranked the Tigers No. 18. The Fighting Irish will play at Clemson on Nov. 4 this year.

Clemson was ranked No. 8 in USA TODAY’s way-too-early Top 25 released on Tuesday while.

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