Dabo Swinney thought his team was off the old R.O.Y bus after last January’s win over Alabama in the national championship game. However, last week he had to go into his garage, pull the tarp off, but air in the tires, change the oil and gas it up for another run.
He then drove the Rest Of Y’all bus to the Allen Reeves Football Complex where the Clemson football team jumped on as the Tigers continue their long drive back up to the mountain where just a few weeks ago they stood at the top.
But this is where Swinney wants his Tigers to be. On the ROY bus, feeling like they have something to prove again to the college football world.
You would think winning 10 or more games eight straight years would have already proved something.
You would think winning five conference championships in those eight years would have already proved something.
You would think winning two national championships in the last three years would have already proven something.
You would think a 28-point win over Alabama in the national championship game last year would have definitely proven something.
You would think winning 20 straight games would have proven something.
All of that did matter for a little while, but once Clemson showed it was vulnerable in its Sept. 28 win at North Carolina, it was thrown off the mountain top without any hesitation.
At first, Swinney and his Tigers were a little surprised they were tossed from the top so fast, but then the reality of the situation set in. Nobody outside of Clemson wants “Little ole Clemson” to be on top of the college football world.
This is a spot reserved for the “Big Schools” like Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Southern Cal, Nebraska, Michigan and Notre Dame. They are supposed to be perched high on that mountain top. Sure, they have allowed a few schools to join them every now and again like Miami, Florida State or Florida.
However, Clemson? No, they don’t think it belongs there.
But that is okay. This is where Clemson has always liked to be. Going all the way back to the days of Frank Howard, the Tigers have always had to prove themselves, never totally getting the respect, nationally, the program deserves.
So, on Saturday, when the Seminoles come to town, the Tigers will jump on the old ROY bus once again and will begin their climb up the mountain of respectability.
This is just where they want to be.
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