Swinney believes Clemson’s experience will mean little in title game

Swinney believes Clemson’s experience will mean little in title game


Swinney believes Clemson’s experience will mean little in title game


Clemson will be making its fourth trip to the national championship game in the last five seasons when the Tigers meet LSU on Jan. 13 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. This will be LSU’s first appearance in the national title game since it lost to Alabama in the 2012 BCS Championship Game.

So, give Clemson an advantage due to experience, right?

“No. I mean, it’s always good to have experience, but we won the National Championship with a true freshman quarterback last year,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “That was supposedly a disadvantage for us, a guy who hadn’t been there. So, I don’t buy any of that stuff.”

Though Swinney might not buy it, he does have 12 starters who started in last year’s championship game against Alabama and 15 others who played significant snaps. Then you have to consider players like Tanner Muse, K’Von Wallace, Sean Pollard, Tremayne Anchrum, John Simpson, Gage Cervenka, J.C. Chalk, Diondre Overton, Nyles Pinckney, Isaiah Simmons, Chad Smith, Nolan Turner and Denzel Johnson will be making at least their third title game with Muse, Cervenka, Smith and Johnson earning their fourth experience.

“I love having experienced guys that can lead, but we’re a really young team. We’ve got, again, 80 of our 120 are freshmen and sophomores,” Swinney said. “So, they haven’t been in four out of the last five National Championships. Our program has, so from a program standpoint I think that it definitely – from a preparation and those type of things and the seniors that we do have, these guys, these fifth-year guys have been here for four out of the last five. So, they have a good clear visual, but we don’t have many of those guys. We’ve just got a few.”

Clemson also has quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who will be making his second start in a national championship game. Last year, he was named the game’s Most Valuable Player and became the first freshman to lead his team to a national championship since 1985.

But Swinney still isn’t buying it. He thinks none of that will matter when it comes to trying to beat Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers.

“It’s fun, but that doesn’t give us any type of edge or anything like that,” he said. “It comes down to who these two teams are and who plays the best on that night, those four quarters, and finds a way to get it done.”

Clemson is going back to the national championship game after once again winning the Fiesta Bowl over Ohio State. Get your official Fiesta Bowl champs gear right here!


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