SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Dabo Swinney says this phrase a lot, especially after his Clemson Tigers take down another heavy weight on the national stage.
Swinney loves to say, “How about Little ole Clemson?!”
So why does he say it?
“I’ve been saying that for a long time because we are Little ole Clemson,” he said. “If you’ve been to Clemson, we’ve only got about 14,000 people in our population there, and — I don’t know — about 20,000 students, maybe.
“So, it’s probably the biggest stadium per capita in the country for the city that it’s in.”
Memorial Stadium currently sits 81,500 fans, while another 70,000 or so never make it into the stadium on game days. They just come for the socializing and tailgating and watch the game on television in their parking spot.
“It’s just Little ole Clemson. It’s just a small town, a small college atmosphere but yet you’ve got this 80-plus-thousand seat stadium and 150,000 people roll into the town on the weekends. It’s incredible.
“But then they all leave. Monday through Friday, we kind of have our own world. It’s just a small — we have one of everything, two of a few things. We’ve got a Starbucks. You know? We’ve got a Walmart, a Publix. We have about one of everything.”
And it also has the best football program in the country right now. No team has won more games in the last five years than Clemson. The Tigers, who will play No. 2 Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, are vying for their second straight national championship and their third in the last four years.
So, if Little ole Clemson beats Ohio State in the College Football Playoff on Saturday, it will mark its third win over the Big Ten Champion since the 2013 season and the fourth overall. And if it happens, you can bet Swinney at some point in his postgame speech will say, “How about Little Ole Clemson” or something to that effect.
“There’s just a simplicity there that’s unique,” he said. “I think there’s a quality of life in Clemson that’s really special. So, we’re just little ole Clemson. We’ve been that way for a long time. But it’s something I used to talk to the team about all the time 11 years ago when I got the job.
“I’d say we’re Little ole Clemson, but we’ve got everything we need to compete at the highest level. We’re going to build a big program, and we’ve been able to do that.”
Yes, they have. Not bad for Little ole Clemson.
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