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Dabo Swinney led No. 3 Clemson to a dominant 38-3 win against South Carolina on Saturday afternoon, officially completing the Tigers’ second straight undefeated regular season.
Without a doubt, that’s an impressive feat — one that should ensure Clemson’s position in the College Football Playoff as long as it handles Virginia in next weekend’s ACC championship game.
Yet after the win at Williams-Brice Stadium, Swinney went off on a tangent about the “bias” he thinks there is nationally about his program. He also brought up No. 4 Georgia’s loss to South Carolina earlier this year. Had Clemson lost to South Carolina like that, he said, there’s no way they’d be in the playoff.
“How important is this game? It’s huge. It’s huge from a national standpoint, because obviously if we lose this game, they gon’ kick us out [of the playoff],” Swinney said. “They don’t want us in there anyway. We’d drop to [No.] 20, you know? Georgia loses to this very same team, and the very next day it’s, ‘How do we keep Georgia in it?’ We win to the team that beat South Carolina, and it’s, ‘How we get Clemson out?’ It’s the dadgumest thing.
“So it’s big because they can’t vote us out. We gotta go undefeated, we gotta go 30-0. We ain’t got no choice because we don’t play nobody. So it’s big from a national standpoint, but it’s huge for this state and it’s huge for our program.”
Clemson has not played a team that is still ranked, but won all but one of their games in dominant fashion. The lone exception was a one-point scare against North Carolina in September. Its strength of schedule is ranked No. 69 in the country, too. By comparison, Georgia has the seventh-toughest schedule in the country, and LSU has the 36th-toughest schedule.
Still, Swinney stood up for his league.
“There’s nobody [who has] been more consistent than us. We’ve been unbelievably consistent, but again, our league doesn’t get the credit,” Swinney said. “Maybe we need some of them ACC guys on some of them big network shows that they have … But all I can tell you is we [are] 10-1 versus the SEC in our last 11, and we’ve won 115 games this decade. So has Ohio State, so has Alabama, and we’ve played both of them. And our program is what people don’t focus on. And let me tell you, Virginia, they’d be in 9-3 in any league. V-Tech, they’d be whatever they are, 8-4 in any league. Wake Forest, they’d be 8-3 … There’s a lot of good football teams in this league, but people just don’t pay attention.
“But at the end of the day, it’s not my job to build a good league. It’s my job to build good program, and I think we’ve done a nice job of that for a long time.”
Swinney, assuming things hold, will have his chance soon enough to prove his program’s worth in a marquee postseason matchup.
Until then, he wants to ensure that the 12-0 Tigers are getting the respect he feels they deserve.
“It’s hard to do, and there’s only three undefeated teams in America,” Swinney said. “If it was easy to be undefeated, how come there’s not more than three? Because there’s some other ‘weak leagues’ as people say. How come they ain’t undefeated?”
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