Dabo Swinney led Clemson to a 17-point win over South Carolina on Nov. 29, 2008, in his sixth game as Tigers' interim coach. Once he became permanent head coach, he couldn't beat the Gamecocks.
From 1976-2008, Clemson went 25-7-1 vs. South Carolina and never lost consecutive games in the series. And only three of those seven losses came by more than 10 points. A year after Swinney's first win over South Carolina, the slide started. The Tigers scored 71 total points over the next five meetings, all losses, and didn't win the Battle for the Palmetto State again until 2014.
Jim Harbaugh might be the current punching bag for can't-beat-your-rival chatter, but the fifth-year Michigan coach isn't the first college football coach who couldn't beat his rival. In addition to Swinney, here are 10 others:
Prior to becoming Oklahoma State head coach in 2005, Oklahoma State was 3-10-1 against Oklahoma while Mike Gundy was a player or assistant coach. As head coach, Gundy lost his first six meetings vs. the Sooners before winning in both 2011 and 2014.
Days before John Cooper arrived in Columbus in late 1987, Ohio State had defeated Michigan for the fifth time in the last 12 meetings. The Buckeyes didn't beat Michigan again until 1994. Cooper lost his first four meetings, tied Michigan in 1992 and lost again in 1993.
Finally, Cooper beat the Wolverines in 1994, one of his two wins in the series. In both 1993 and 1996, the Buckeyes' loss to Michigan was the only loss of the season.
Once upon a time, Virginia dominated their in-state foe, winning eight of 12 matchups from 1987-98. Since then: 1-19.
Al Groh returned to his alma mater in 2001 and defeated Virginia Tech in 2003, the Cavaliers' first win in the series since 1998. However, Groh lost the next six games and finished his career with a 1-8 mark.
Chuck Fairbanks vs. Texas
Texas dominated the Red River Rivalry from 1958-1970, winning 12 of their 13 matchups, including four straight from 1967-70, the first four years of Chuck Fairbanks' career as Oklahoma head coach.
They finally got revenge in 1971 and 1972 (Fairbanks' final two seasons), beating the Longhorns by a combined 48 points en route to 11-1 seasons.
Florida State feasted on Miami during Butch Davis' first few seasons. Davis lost his first five games in the rivalry, including the first three by a combined score of 122-33. He finally beat the Seminoles in 2000, his final season.
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Steve Spurrier won his second meeting vs. Florida State (in 1991) but didn't beat the Seminoles again until 1995, starting 1-4-1 in the non-conference matchups. However, Spurrier won four of his final eight games against Florida State, including the national-championship-clinching 1997 Sugar Bowl.
In his second season as head coach, Dan Mullen led Mississippi State to nine wins in 2010 — tying the program's third-highest win total of all time — but lost to Ole Miss for the second straight season.
Mississippi State dropped the Egg Bowl again in 2011 before winning in 2012. Mullen started 1-4 vs. Ole Miss but finished 4-5 overall.
Mike Riley vs. Oregon
Mike Riley went 1-1 vs. Oregon in his first stint as Oregon State head coach (1997-98) and started his second stint with three wins in their first four meetings.
However, Riley didn't beat Oregon in his final seven attempts from 2008-14. Only two of those seven consecutive losses had a margin of victory fewer than 17 points.
Bruce Snyder vs. Stanford
Bruce Snyder led an impressive rebuild, taking Cal from a two-win program in 1986 to a top-10 ranking and 10 wins in 1991, but couldn't beat Stanford. He went 0-4-1 against the Cardinal in his five seasons, losing three of the games by at least 10 points.
Charlie Weis vs. USC
Two of the Notre Dame's six losses from 2005-06 came against USC, including the three-point Bush Push loss in 2005. USC scored at least 34 points in all five wins and outscored Notre Dame 76-3 in their 2007 and 2008 wins.
Charlie Weis never beat the Trojans in his five seasons.