CHARLOTTE – Even though Dabo Swinney did not come out and say it directly on Wednesday, it is obvious the Clemson head coach is tired of all the SEC bias that has been coming from the media, the state of Alabama and other areas around the Southeast.
For more than three and a half minutes at the ACC Football Kickoff from the Charlotte Westin in downtown Charlotte, Swinney took up for his Clemson program, while also defending the conference.
“I don’t run around and talk about league supremacy. We have a great league, but there are lots of great leagues out there, and certainly the SEC is an unbelievable league,” Swinney said. “But to me, it is about the program. You can be in a great league and stink as a program. What does that do for you?
“To me, it should always be about the program. But, I think, our league is so understated that it is not even funny. We have won more national championships in the last six years than any conference in football. You probably wouldn’t know that because nobody wants to talk about that.”
In other words, Swinney seems to be tired of hearing how great the SEC was 10 years ago. He pointed out in the last six years, the ACC has won three of the last six national championships, but no one mentions it.
“Everybody wants to talk about the past twenty years, and certainly ten years ago was different in this league,” he said. “Ten years ago, when I got this job at Clemson, we had a long way to go, not only at Clemson but as a league. But where we are today and the reason we win is because of our league and how we are challenged week in and week out.
“I think that is what people miss. Five or six years ago, it was hilarious because the rhetoric used to be that an ACC team is never going to win the national championship because they don’t play anybody. So, when they get to the postseason and they had to play the big-bad boys they can’t be prepared. But now, we win it, but the only reason we win it now is because we do not play anybody. So, you can’t have it both ways.”
Swinney says at the end of the day, the reason Clemson has won two of the last three national championships, is because of the ACC, which he feels has great coaches and great players that can compete with anyone in the country.
“We certainly get a lot of credit, but I certainly think a lot of teams in our league don’t and they should,” he said. “There are some great coaches and some great players in our league. I am not saying we are the best in the world or whatever, but we were last year. But that is over. It is a new year and you have to go back out there and play. But this league does not take a backseat to anyone.”