As he walked into the room to host his final Tuesday press conference of the 2017 Football Season, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney let it be known how much he appreciated seeing the media in the last week of November.
“Well, it’s the first week of recruiting and I am here with ya’ll, so that means we have had a good year,” Swinney said with a big grin. “This is awesome to have a press conference this week. Like I said, that means we are playing for our championship.”
The Tigers, who moved to No. 1 in the College Football Playoff Committee Rankings on Tuesday, have been playing for a lot of championships lately under Swinney’s direction. The top-ranked Tigers will play No. 7 Miami in Saturday’s ACC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
This will be Clemson’s fifth trip to the ACC Championship Game, all under Swinney. They have also won six ACC Atlantic Division Titles and of course played in two CFP National Championship Games, while winning last year’s national championship.
Winning and playing for championships is what Clemson seems to do now, however, it should not be taken for granted. With all that is going on with the coaching carousel this week in college football, Tiger fans should appreciate even more what Dabo Swinney has done for the Clemson football program.
How would you like to be a Tennessee fan this week? The Volunteers have become the laughing stock of college football after how they handled the whole Greg Schiano situation.
Texas A&M is still looking for a new head coach and right now all signs point to Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher being that guy as the Seminoles’ administration and Fisher’s relationship seem to be unstable at the moment.
Then there is the whole mess at Arkansas, where it seems no one wants to be a part of that mess either, especially with the way the interim athletic director fired Bret Bielema after the Razorbacks’ loss to Missouri in the season finale. A lot of coaches are scared to take a job there until Arkansas fines a new AD first.
Do you see why Clemson fans should appreciate Dabo Swinney? While all these other programs are firing and hiring new head coaches Clemson is playing for another ACC Championship and is one win away from making it back to the College Football Playoff for a third straight year.
Swinney has guided the Tigers to an 11-1 record so far this season, the third straight season and the fifth time overall Clemson has recorded 11 or more wins under his direction. Before Swinney took over in 2008, the Tigers had won 11 or more games in a season just three times.
This year, the Tigers are the only team in the nation with five wins over top 25 teams, including three on the road, also a national best. Clemson also has a national best seven wins over Power 5 teams with winning records.
After last Saturday’s win over South Carolina Swinney recorded his 100th victory as a head coach, and now has a record of 100-29 in his 10 seasons at Clemson. That is the second most wins in school history, trailing only the 165 Frank Howard had, who coached at Clemson for 30 years.
Swinney is just the fourth coach in FBS history to win 100 games within his first 10 years as a head coach. The others are Bob Stoops (109), Chris Petersen (107), and Urban Meyer (104).
Swinney became just the fourth ACC coach to record 100 wins. The others to do it are Bobby Bowden (173), George Welsh (136), and Frank Beamer (113). Howard won 96 games as an ACC head coach. He spent the first 13 years as Clemson’s head coach while the Tigers were in the Southern Conference.
As you look at all of the wins Clemson has racked up, as well as all of the championships, take a look around you. Your Clemson Tigers have it good right now. Don’t take Saturday’s ACC Championship Game for granted. It’s hard to win football games, much less conference championships.
Appreciate what you have and more importantly appreciate Dabo Swinney for building the kind of program at Clemson you as a Clemson fan, and some as an alumnus, can be proud of. There are a lot of other college football fans right now that would love to be in your shoes.