CHARLOTTE — Starting a season 13-0 is no simple task and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney knows that better than anyone.
The Tigers have won a remarkable 11 games by a margin of 20 points or greater, while setting the school record for touchdowns and offensive touchdowns and they’re is not finished yet.
Second-ranked Clemson won its fourth consecutive ACC Championship Game Saturday gliding to a 42-10 victory over Pittsburgh. In doing so it clinched a fourth consecutive appearance in the College Football Playoff with the Tigers’ destination to be determined at noon, Sunday during the CFP Selection Show.
This season, the wins have been remarkable for Swinney, but his favorite thing is enjoying the journey.
“We have an unbelievably special group,” he said. “What I love more than anything is just coming to work every day and knowing that you’re around good people, people who really care about what you’re doing, they’re passionate about it. This team has had an unbelievable focus.”
Swinney has enjoyed every moment with his 2018 squad that continues to break records every week. They have already set the record for wins as a group of seniors (53) and Swinney doesn’t think they are finished yet but his still savoring the moments.
“My word for the year has been ‘joy’ all year, I’ve had so much joy with this team. Incredible joy in the journey,” Swinney said. “At the end of the day, that’s what it all comes down to. I’m going to miss these guys. I love these guys.”
The win made the Tigers the first team in the Power Five since the 1993-96 Florida teams, coached by Steve Spurrier, to win four straight conference championship games.
Swinney does not take that for granted, he sat on the other end of some of those games and he knows how difficult it is to stay at a consistent level especially with the type of consistency his program operates with.
“It’s incredibly difficult to have the type of consistency that we’ve had. It just takes good people. You got to have good players, but you got to have good people,” Swinney said. “That’s what we try to do. We try to recruit people first, players second.”
In the end, the trophies will fade and at some point championships will be forgotten but the memories Swinney cherishes are when no one is looking.
“Man, it’s the practices, it’s the grind in August, it’s those meetings, Friday night meetings. It’s the bus rides,” Swinney said. “That’s the stuff. It’s the guys messing around, having fun. Those are the things you always remember.”