AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — Dabo Swinney believes the media has an agenda when it comes to football in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and it isn’t a good one.
Clemson’s head coach says that is why he is so vocal about promoting the conference when he gets together with them at functions such as this week’s ACC Meetings in Amelia Island, Fla.
“The media has an agenda and it is unbelievable,” Swinney said to The Clemson Insider and others that cover the ACC on Tuesday. “No offense. Who do y’all work for and all that stuff? I have not been afraid to beat that drum with facts. Heaven forbid we let some facts get in the way.”
What are the facts? The ACC has appeared in each of the first two College Football Playoffs and has had two teams, including the Tigers, play for the national championship in two of the last three years.
Swinney says the facts have been proven on the field for a long time now.
“I think it is more about what happens on the field. If you look at what we do on the field, I think we are 5-2 in the last seven BCS and College Football Playoff Games. Look at the head-to-head in our out of conference success,” he said. “You look at the NFL Draft, and on and on and on.
“Two of the last three years we have been in the national championship. In three of the last four years we have been in the final few teams. Our league is strong … It is a deep league. It is very competitive and it is hard to win. Last year, we had about 10 of the top 20 defenses out there. Again, all you have to do is look at what is happening at the next level from an NFL standpoint. It does not mean we are better than other people. I don’t go around beating a drum that we are the best, I just think it is a deep and talented league that is committed both academically and athletically. That speaks for itself.”
Swinney says the best way to quiet the media is for the conference to keep doing what it has been doing … just keep winning.
“I have never been afraid to beat that drum here because of the propaganda, it is unbelievable, but at the end of the day, just keep your head down and work and go win. Eventually, it changes and then they have to come up with something else to say,” Swinney said.
No one can criticize what Clemson has done. The Tigers have opened the last several years against Georgia and Auburn, have played Notre Dame and then have beaten teams such as LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma (twice) in their last four bowl games.
“That’s why I have been in favor of trying to schedule aggressively since I have gotten this job,” Swinney said. “No one can say anything. From our standpoint, I think our program and our brand is strong and I think we have earned that.
“It is our job to continue to keep it that way. I think it is about the program, not necessarily the league. I have always felt that way. There are some bad teams in some good leagues. There are some good teams in some bad leagues that no one will be excited about playing. I have never really gotten too caught up in that, but at times I do think it is important to state the facts. I think from an ACC standpoint, and what has happened in our league, I think we are strong and I think the results will continue to prove that.”
Getting it right. This season, the ACC is talking about having a central hub in Greensboro, N.C., for replay officials. This will allow the conference to step in and correct a call if a replay official is having trouble with a call. The NFL has used this, as well as the Pac 10.
“I think the NFL model is something everyone is looking at. I don’t have a problem with it. I just want it to be right,” Swinney said. “I think everybody at the end of the day just wants to be right. I think what they are talking about and what everyone is comfortable with is kind having the same model you had. You have a replay guy at every game and at every stadium, but maybe at a central place they need to say, ‘Hey! Wait a minute here.’
“At the end of the day, you want to get it right. That’s the bottom line. Everybody can live with that. It’s human error. Everybody can have conspiracy theories and that type of stuff, but I still believe people are good. Maybe, I’m an old school guy. People are good. I think they can get it right. There is going to be an incredible amount of scrutiny regardless of what you do, just like there is now. But, I don’t think it is a bad thing to have a central command, if you will, like the NFL. I think they have had good success with it. They have had maybe four or five times, at the most, that the command people had to step in this year. But, you know what? Those four or five times are a big deal. They’re a big deal to the program and the fan bases and so forth. You have to be able to get it right and that’s what you should do.”
New positions. Swinney said twin brothers Kelby and Kaleb Bevelle, who played on the defensive line last fall and were redshirted, have moved to the offensive line. They were defensive ends. That’s really the only moves Swinney noted.
Clemson released its two-deep post spring depth chart on Tuesday as well. Swinney also confirmed that there were no academic casualties from the spring semester.