Dabo Swinney can’t tell you how excited his players are about going back to Arizona and playing a football game, but he is.
Swinney said it was such a business trip when Clemson, who began workouts for the Fiesta Bowl on Monday, played Alabama in the national championship game last January, and they were so dialed in on the task at hand, they did take the time to enjoy the city of Phoenix and all it has to offer.
“I can’t even remember what our hotel looks like,” Swinney said during his press conference on Tuesday to preview the Fiesta Bowl matchup. “I know what my room looks like, and I know what the setting looked like with the mountains and the golf course, but I have no idea what the hotel looks like. I can’t even remember it.
“I don’t know what was across the street. I have no clue.”
That will not be the case this year when the second-ranked Tigers take on No. 3 Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Eve as part of the semifinals of the College Football Playoff. This time Swinney and the Tigers plan to enjoy their trip to Glendale, Arizona.
“It was just like an away game,” Swinney said. “It was just such a working trip so I’m excited to go back out there and be able to breathe a little bit and check it out a little bit more.”
Swinney played in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl as a player at Alabama and he got to experience the area then so he is looking forward to going back and seeing it 25 years later. He is also looking forward to playing the Buckeyes.
“At the end of the day, we are where we wanted to be,” Swinney said. “When we started the season, we had high expectations and all of that stuff. To win the (ACC) back-to-back years, we all know how difficult that is, especially when you are picked to do it.
“That’s two years in a row we have been picked to do it and the guys have continued to excel and manage those types of situations. I’m really proud of these guys. We wanted to be in the final four and that is where we are. We have a shot to get back to the (national) championship.”