For those who think second-ranked Clemson is going to walk into Kyle Field Saturday night and get an easy victory, obviously, they have not been listening to Dabo Swinney.
During Wednesday’s ACC Coaches teleconference call with the media, the Tigers’ head coach said the Aggies’ program is not far off from being where his program is at right now.
Swinney took over as Clemson’s head coach in 2009 and slowly he has built the program into one of college football’s elite programs.
However, when he first started the Tigers had moderate success on the playing field and had not won a championship of any kind in almost two decades. The facilities were okay, but not where they needed to be in order to compete with some of the bigger programs in college football.
“I think Texas A&M is a lot further (along) than where we were back in the fall of ’09,” Swinney said.
In that first year, thanks to a running back named C.J. Spiller, Swinney got Clemson to its first ACC Championship Game. Two years later, with Tajh Boyd, Dwayne Allen, Deandre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins running the show, the Tigers won 10 games for the first time in 21 years and won their first ACC Championship in 20 years.
With championships becoming more frequent, Clemson opened the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in December of 2012. By 2015 Clemson won a second ACC Championship and played for the national championship. That led to the construction of the Allen Reeves Football Complex, which opened in February of 2017, a month after the Tigers’ won the program its first national championship in 35 years.
In 2017, Clemson won a third straight ACC Championship and earned a berth in the College Football Playoff for a third year in a row. This season, the Tigers are once again one of the favorites to play for the national championship.
So, 83 wins and seven straight 10-win seasons later, Clemson is considered one of the elite programs in college football. After bringing in Jimbo Fisher to take over the program last December, after he won a national championship at Florida State, the Aggies are hopeful he can build a similar program in College Station, Texas.
“I think Texas A&M has great facilities,” Swinney said. “They have more four- or five-stars on their roster than we have over the last four years. I think they have everything they need.
“They have support. I think they have hired a great football coach in Jimbo Fisher, who has been incredibly successful. He has been around a lot of successful programs and I don’t have any doubt he will be something special there at College Station.”