ESPN personality Paul Finebaum fired a shot at Dabo Swinney in the aftermath of Clemson’s 27-21, double-overtime loss to NC State last Saturday in Raleigh.
Finebaum called the Tigers’ head coach a “lousy loser” during a conversation with ESPN college football studio host Matt Barrie on The ESPN College Football Podcast.
“Dabo Swinney, for all of his charm, is a pretty lousy loser,” Finebaum said. “Nobody wants to hear his whine, nobody really wants to hear him say whatever he says. He’s not even a good winner, but he’s a terrible loser.”
Finebaum also gave his thoughts on the current state of Clemson’s program with the Tigers sitting with two losses before the end of September.
He wouldn’t go as far to say that he thinks Swinney’s dynasty of recent years is over, but says it’s “goodbye” Clemson as far as the Tigers continuing their streak of six consecutive appearances in the College Football Playoff.
“They have shared the spotlight with Alabama really since 2015, being in the playoffs every year and contending, and it’s over now, and goodbye,” Finebaum said. “It was a hard landing. It was a crash landing, and it was a predictable landing. Because really since the Georgia game a month ago, we’ve been talking about their issues, especially on the offensive line, D.J. (Uiagalelei) being shaky and not being Trevor Lawrence, and they kept willing their way through. You knew this was a trap game, but you kept thinking to yourself, ‘N.C. State, didn’t they just lose to Mississippi State, which has lost to pretty much everyone now?’ What an epic game.”
Finebaum also wonders how recruits view Clemson right now and what kind of impact this season will have on the Tigers’ recruiting efforts moving forward.
“The real question that has to be asked now is where does this Clemson program go?” he said. “And I’m not suggesting the dynasty of the last six years is over. But if you’re a 17-year-old about to make a commitment and you have all the usual suspects, you’re looking at that program and it just doesn’t look quite the same today, Matt. And I think it will be very interesting to watch this.”
Finebaum also discussed Uiagalelei’s struggles thus far, the lackluster performance of Clemson’s offensive line and added he thinks Swinney will still be a part of the College Football Playoff this year – not as a coach, but with Rece Davis and the ESPN crew.
“We also just assume because these guys are good in high school that they will naturally be great in college, and even sometimes when we know they’re good … weird things start to happen,” Finebaum said of Uiagalelei. “But I really do think it starts with the offensive line position. And I heard Dabo a month ago saying ‘we are much better in the offensive line, I really like this offensive line.’ Well, if he likes that offensive line, he likes bad football because they can’t block anything.
“And they’re done for the season. It doesn’t matter who’s left because they’ll go to a bowl game, and Dabo can do the Dabo — he’ll be sitting with Rece and the guys at the CFP. I guarantee you he’s already got that gig probably lined up. And good for him. He’s had an amazing run.”
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