Monday Morning Quarterback
It was a week ago today, ESPNU radio and television analyst Greg McElroy wondered how Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney would rally his team this year considering the Tigers could not use the “Little Ole Clemson” ploy or driving the “Rest Of Y’all” bus following last year dismantling of Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
Well, it looks like he got his answer.
After nearly a month of Paul Finebaum and other SEC apologist making up excuse after excuse on why Alabama lost by 28 points to Clemson in the title game, the Crimson Tide themselves gave Swinney some ammunition at SEC Media Days last week.
Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses said Georgia was the “hardest” opponent he has faced in his time at Alabama, while wide receiver Jerry Jeudy said the Bulldogs were “the toughest,” they played in his opinion.
Then South Carolina linebacker T.J. Brunson got into the act by saying Clemson was “just not as physical” as Georgia.
Then there was Finebaum’s rant about John Simpson and Clemson after Simpson defended himself and the Clemson program after he was asked if he heard Moses’ comments. Simpson said, in his opinion, especially considering he actually played both teams, that Notre Dame was better than Alabama last season.
That got Finebaum fired up.
“I’m not in the business of criticizing college players but that is easily one of the stupidest comments I have ever heard,” Finebaum said. “Alabama was a phenomenal football team last year. Notre Dame was good, but they were not as good as Alabama. Alabama would’ve destroyed Notre Dame, and what you get there in John Simpson’s comments is just the pettiness of a program that is unaccustomed to being at the epicenter of this sport.
“I’ve said this couple of times, I’m gonna say it again, Clemson just doesn’t know how to win yet. Maybe they will at some point, but not yet. And I hope that they can learn to deal with being number one and being in the spotlight. Because so far, a lot of their comments and their behavior, both the last time two years ago and today, have been really embarrassing.”
So, if people don’t think Clemson feels disrespected by all this talk and if people don’t think Dabo Swinney isn’t going to use it all to fuel his team this season, they are sadly mistaken.
As former Clemson offensive lineman, now ACC Network and ESPN analyst, Eric Mac Lain explained, Finebaum and the SEC apologists just put a chip on Clemson’s shoulder.
“I think what is so interesting about it is we hear everybody in the media and how is it possible that Clemson can still be the underdog and still have a chip on their shoulder. Well, it is the media that gives them this stuff,” he said. “You just gave Dabo Swinney ammunition for the entire year. So, congratulations on that. The entire state of Alabama can thank you for the ammo that you just gave to (Clemson) to a whole new level.
“They are already going to be one of the best, if not the best, teams in the country. Now, you have given them motive and motivation. So, thanks! Appreciate it.”