Dabo Swinney isn’t quite ready to go full Rodney Dangerfield… but he’s getting there when people try to rehash Clemson’s rather historic beatdown of Alabama in last season’s national title game.
Lately the Tigers head coach has been hearing plenty of excuses from those in and around his alma mater about why the final score from Levi’s Stadium read 44-16 and the ACC champions were the one holding up the trophy at the end. It seems one line of thinking goes that the Tide were simply too tired from the ‘rigorous’ SEC schedule they played that they were simply all beat up by the time the title game came around.
Well, Dabo isn’t buying any of that non-sense as a way to downplay the historic accomplishment his team put together in their one-of-a-kind 15-0 campaign last season.
“My thing on that is, ‘Are you serious? They’re tired?,'” Swinney told ESPN. “Then you look at Clemson, and we won 12 games by 20-plus. Who really challenged Alabama in the SEC? They didn’t get challenged by anybody until the Georgia game [for the SEC championship].”
“I keep hearing that Alabama was worn down by this gauntlet they went through… I’m like, ‘What game did they get challenged in?’ And the response is, ‘They played in the SEC.’ Well, we played Alabama, Texas A&M and South Carolina, three SEC teams, and one of our toughest games was Syracuse. Our quarterback got hurt in that game, and we found a way to win. That [Clemson] team last year was a dominant team, and it’s just fascinating to me to see all the stuff out there.”
It’s worth pointing out that some from within the program in Tuscaloosa used a different excuse, namely citing lack of preparation and focus for the game being the cause behind both the loss and the lopsided scoreline. Clemson players weren’t having any of that in mid-July either and it seems like the defending champions are getting really tired of, well, having to defend their crown before a game has even kicked off in 2019.
While some casual college football fans may not like it, it will all make for an even more interesting matchup when Alabama-Clemson V eventually happens in the College Football Playoff like many expect later on this year. Something says there will be no shortage of locker room quotes that both coaching staffs will be taping up for motivation given what has happened recently…