Though he will not own it, but Dabo Swinney has built a small dynasty at Clemson
SAN JOSE, Calif — Dabo Swinney will not come right out and say it, but his Clemson Tigers are no longer on the ROY Bus.
The Tigers are now driving the lead bus in college football, especially after the way they dominated Alabama Monday might in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Led by MVP Trevor Lawrence’s 347 passing yards and three touchdowns and a defense that held Alabama to just seven points on four red-zone possessions, Clemson routed the Tide with a 44-16 victory at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
The win marked Clemson’s second national championship in two years, while the Tigers finished the season 15-0 – the first team in 121 years to make such a claim.
So, are the Tigers a new dynasty in college football?
“No, we’re a long way from a dynasty. We’re a great program. There’s no doubt about that,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said at the Champions Press Conference Tuesday at the San Jose Marriott.
Though Swinney does not believe his program is a dynasty, the numbers don’t lie.
Besides winning its second national title in three years, Clemson is 55-4 during that span. This year’s team won 13 of its 15 games by 20 or more points, including its last 10.
They handed Alabama (14-1) its worst defeat under Nick Saban and have made the College Football Playoff four straight years.
In his 11 seasons as the head coach, 10 fulltime, Swinney has posted a 116-30 record. His last eight teams have won at least 10 games. His teams have also won five ACC Championships, including four straight.
“We’re incredibly consistent in every area of our program. I mean, and that’s what I’m more proud of than anything is just the consistency,” Swinney said. “One of the things we talked about this week, over the last decade, everything we’ve done once, we’ve done multiple times, and it’s kind of been a progression.
“We won our first division in ’09, well, we’ve won seven now. At that point we had not won a division, and then we come back in ’11 and we won the league. We hadn’t won the league since like 1991. Now we’ve won it five times. We won 10 games in ’11. That was the first time since ’90 or ’91. Now it’s been eight years. We got to a BCS in ’11 and ’13. I told them they lit up the Empire State Building once, and now they’ve done it again.”
Clemson has won nine bowl games under Swinney, while beating college football powerhouses such as Alabama, Oklahoma and Ohio State on multiple occasions. Clemson also beat LSU and Notre Dame in bowl games.
Besides Alabama, the Tigers are the only program in the country with eight straight 10-win seasons in a row and join Alabama and Ohio State as the only schools with 100 or more wins this decade.
“The only thing we hadn’t done again was win it all,” Swinney said.
Now they have and on Monday night they did in style, routing Alabama for the program’s third national championship overall and second in the last three years.
“It’s just been kind of a progression for us. We’ve just kind of kept our head down over the last decade and gone about our business,” Swinney said. “We’re certainly – I think we’re as good a program as there is out there, but we’re a long way from a dynasty.
“I think from a dynasty standpoint, Alabama is kind of in a category of their own. I mean, Coach (Nick) Saban may have won five National Championships in 10 years, or however long he’s been there. It’s incredible the run that they’ve had. But we’re just thankful that we got the opportunity to experience it. But to be able to win two out of the last three, I think that certainly puts us in a place that’s pretty special from a program standpoint.”