Dabo Swinney has made his point to the media. However, the national media still does not get it.
Three times since his Clemson Tigers beat rival South Carolina for a sixth straight year he has given his opinion on how the media has missed the boat with his football team. He isn’t mad about it. He is disappointed because it has caused his 2019 team not to get the same respect as some other teams.
On Tuesday he was asked if he had an opinion on why the perception is not better nationally about the ACC.
“It’s the media,” Swinney said confidently. “That is what drives everything. That is what drives every perception. That’s what gets put out there. That does not mean there are bad people out there. It’s not chastising anybody. I just think other programs get the benefit of the doubt from time-to-time. And for whatever reason, our league, and certainly Clemson, we don’t really get the benefit of the doubt.
“If there was another team out there that was coming off a 15-0 season and had beaten Alabama by four touchdowns, people should focus more on who we are and not who we ‘so-call play.’ I think other teams will get a little different benefit of the doubt.”
Swinney is right. The Tigers don’t get the benefit of the doubt that an Alabama will get from time to time or an Ohio State, Oklahoma or Georgia. And its not just this season he is referring to. He is talking about every year.
The media, especially the national media, does not get it, however. They come back with “Clemson is ranked No. 3, people respect them. Why is he saying that?”
Because Clemson should not be ranked No. 3. It should be ranked No. 1.
The Tigers did nothing to deserve to fall in the polls the way they did this season. Clemson is the only preseason No. 1 team in the history of the Associated Press Poll, which began in 1936, to fall to No. 3 in the polls by the end of the year despite winning every game.
Clemson fell to as far as No. 4 in the AP Poll during the course of the season, which no preseason team has ever done without a loss. All of this despite the Tigers winning 11 of their 12 games by 14 or more points and 10 of the 12 by 31 or more points.
The Tigers average margin of victory this season is 35.2 points per game.
Why did Clemson slip in the polls? Why did the media think the Tigers weren’t worthy to stay in the No. 1 position? Because they recorded a one-point win over North Carolina, and because Trevor Lawrence threw eight interceptions. Eight interceptions, which just one turned into points for the opposing teams.
Swinney says he can understand the media not giving his program the benefit of the doubt if last year was the first time they really accomplished anything as a program on the national scene. But they have been winning for a long time at Clemson.
Clemson is the second winningest program in the country in this decade. It has recorded nine straight 10-win seasons. They have been to the College Football Playoff four straight years and are a win away from making it a fifth consecutive year, which will tie Alabama.
The Tigers have played for the national championship in three of the previous four seasons and have won it twice.
Do you think an Alabama team that dominated pretty much every opponent, but one would have slipped in the polls? They likely would be commended for finding such a way to win a tough game on the road when they were not playing at their best.
Clemson, however, slipped to No. 2 following its one-point win at North Carolina and then subsequently dropped two more spots despite winning the following two games by 31 and 35 points. Do you think that would happen to Alabama or Ohio State?
Swinney’s rant is that the media has missed out on what a great football team the Tigers have this year. Yes, he understands they will get a chance to watch his team if the Tigers make it to the CFP like everyone is expecting, but they deserved to keep their No. 1 ranking and they did nothing to deserve to lose it.
“They still talk about our close game with North Carolina. It still gets talked about. They still talk about Trevor throwing a few interceptions early in the season. They don’t talk about all the touchdowns,” Swinney said.
“I don’t think our team has been portrayed properly, and people have missed out on a beautiful football team,” he continued.
And that has been his point all along.
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