By Will Vandervort.
Alabama, Oregon have held serve in road games this year, now it’s third-rank Clemson’s turn
By Will Vandervort
Dabo Swinney did something last Saturday he rarely gets the opportunity to do – he got to watch other college football games.
“I enjoyed watching the games and all the different things,” the Clemson coach said Tuesday. “It’s not often I get a Saturday to just sit around. Even when we are playing on Saturdays I might get a snippet here or a snippet there, but we don’t get that much time to watch a lot of television, maybe a little highlights here or there.
“But that was pretty neat. I had a good time. I ate too much, but it was fun.”
At one point, while he was throwing down some food, Swinney watched Tennessee take an early seven-point lead on No. 2 Oregon and top-ranked Alabama trail Texas A&M by two touchdowns. With Swinney’s third-ranked Tigers idle, for just a short moment they were looking at taking over the top spot in the Associated Press Poll. However, that was something that never crossed Swinney’s mind.
“I don’t think that way,” he said. “And even if that happens, what does that mean? Tennessee had beaten Oregon and Texas A&M had beaten Alabama, what does that mean? It does not mean anything. Who knows?
“We don’t know if Alabama is the No. 1 team in the country. Who knows? Right now, what they have done is taken their show on the road and have held serve.”
Alabama ultimately beat the Aggies, 49-42, in College Station and Oregon destroyed Tennessee before it was all said and done. The Ducks have also gone on the road this year and took care of business with a 59-10 win at Virginia on Sept. 8. Now it’s Clemson’s turn to hold serve as it heads to Raleigh, N.C., Thursday night (7:30 / ESPN) to take on the NC State Wolfpack.
“That’s the way it is. It’s a race to the end of (the season),” Swinney said. “We are in good position, but we are just kind of getting in that first curve. We have a long way to go. Those people with those (championship) tickets for Clemson, they don’t need to be dancing in those seats, yet.
“We have a long way to go. We are not a great football team right now. Maybe we will be. It will all play itself out. That’s why you play the games. That’s the last thing on my mind.”
In might have been the last thing on his mind and it will throughout the course of the season, but Swinney stayed true to what he has said all along since the season began. Should the Tigers go through the season undefeated, then it will get a chance to play in the BCS Championship game.
If Clemson (2-0) does that, then it means they would have beaten a top 5 Georgia team, a top 10 Florida State squad and a top 15 South Carolina team. In other words, Clemson’s body of work could be as impressive as anyone’s in the country.
“Absolutely! Are you kidding me? With the teams we play, there is no doubt about it,” Swinney said. “Listen, NC State, this team we are getting ready to play, they are going to prove to be one of the better teams in this conference. They are going to win a bunch of games. They really are.
“We have several teams in this conference that I think are going to surprise some people this year. It is going to be very competitive. It is going to be a challenge. Every single week is going to be a challenge. That’s why you can’t overlook anybody. You have to put everything you got into each week. When you get the result, you reload and you put everything into that next one.
“It’s hard to go undefeated. It’s hard,” he continued. “That’s our goal, to win them all, but that is hard to do. It is a very hard thing to do. Not many teams can pull that off. Just look at the history of college football, how many undefeated national championship teams have we had in the last how many years? It’s hard because everyone has good players. That’s the way college football is now.”