Buckeyes reporter comes out swinging, but Swinney punches back

Buckeyes reporter comes out swinging, but Swinney punches back

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Buckeyes reporter comes out swinging, but Swinney punches back

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Monday Morning Quarterback

Dabo Swinney was barely a few minutes into the Fiesta Bowl teleconference on Sunday before he had to defend third-ranked Clemson’s schedule and the ACC, again.

An Ohio reporter, who covers No. 2 Ohio State, asked, “You’ve been so dominant in the ACC this year. This question is about what Ohio State had to face, what happens when you’re in a close game? What would you say about that? And people have criticized the ACC this year. What would you say about that? How strong is the league?”

Swinney chuckled a little before he responded.

“Well, we did have one close game against North Carolina and had to battle ourselves off to find a way to win. So, we have had one close game,” he said. “But at the end of the day, this is a new season. And both teams have earned their way here.

“It’s not easy to win. There are only three undefeated teams out there. There’s a lot of leagues. There’s no undefeated MAC or Sun Belt or Conference USA or any other league. I don’t care what league you’re in, it’s incredibly difficult to win, to win them all.”

Clemson (13-0) not only has won them all this year, but it won all of last year’s games too. The Tigers come into its Fiesta Bowl matchup with Ohio State on Dec. 28, owning the nation’s longest winning streak … 28 games.

Granted, they have beaten this year’s 13 opponents by an average score of 35.9 points per game, including 42.1 in the last seven. However, what it seems most still have forgotten is that a lot of players on this year’s team are also the same players that helped Clemson beat Notre Dame by 27 points in last year’s College Football Playoff semifinals and then Alabama by 28 points in the national championship game.

Also, Clemson’s senior class was a part of the 2016 team that beat the Buckeyes 31-0 in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl on its way to winning a national championship that year. In other words, there are plenty of players on this year’s roster who know what it is like to play in tough games, big games and they have won almost all of them.

“We’ve got a track record over the last nine years that kind of speaks for itself,” Swinney said. “And I think our team, in particular, has shown up with great focus and preparation each week with great respect for every opponent and have found a way to win.

“So, you can only play the schedule that you got, and that’s what we’ve done. And we’ve earned the right to get into postseason. And we know at this point, you’re playing the best of the best. It doesn’t really matter if you are ranked first, second, third, or fourth. These are the four best teams that have played throughout the season.”

And based on what the defending national champions have done in the past, Swinney should not have to be defending how he and his Tigers got there.

The Clemson Tigers ares ACC Champions for the fifth year in a row. Get the latest official Clemson ACC Championship gear from Fanatics.

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