“They can't vote us out”: Swinney says Tigers still lack national respect


by - Staff Writer -
Dabo Swinney leads his team out on the field at South Carolina Saturday
Dabo Swinney leads his team out on the field at South Carolina Saturday

COLUMBIA, SC – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney slapped hands with Tiger fans as he left the field after Saturday’s 38-3 victory over South Carolina and then made sure the media understands just exactly what his team has accomplished.

If no one respects this team, Swinney intimated, then that’s their problem.

Clemson won its 27th game in a row, the nation’s longest winning streak, home winning streak (22) and road winning streak (12). The win is also Clemson's 10th victory against SEC competition since the start of the 2016 season. Clemson's ten wins against the SEC since 2016 outpace the totals of three active SEC members: Ole Miss (eight), Vanderbilt (eight) and Arkansas (four).

Still, the Clemson program is one that has to fight for respect nationally as the Tigers fight for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

“This is huge. It's huge from a national standpoint because obviously if we lose this game, they're going to kick us out. They don't want us in there anyway,” Swinney said in his postgame press conference. “We'd drop to 20. Georgia loses to this very same team and the next day it's, 'How do we keep Georgia in it?' We win to the team that beat Georgia and it's, 'How do we get Clemson out?' It's the dadgumest thing. It's big because they can't vote us out. We've got to go 30-0. We ain't got no choice because we don't play anybody. It's big from a national standpoint but it's huge for this state and it's huge for our program.”

Swinney said the lack of respect is frustrating.

“Yes, but it is what it is. All aboard they ROY Bus. We just want a seat wherever we can go but you have to take one step at a time,” he said. “We're not entitled to win and we never think that way. We start over every week. We have a very humble spirit to our team. It takes a lot of humility to prepare every week because you have to go earn it. Our guys have that mindset and our staff does a wonderful job. I'm excited. I can't say enough about this team. It's just incredible what I've been able to witness. We've won 27 games in a row. It's just unbelievable.”

The win was a sixth consecutive over the Gamecocks.

“We lost five in a row and a big part of that is we were 15 turnovers to their three in that five-game stretch. A couple of those years I thought we had the better team and a couple of those years they had the better team and maybe even on another, but we had 15 turnovers to their three.,” Swinney said. “You get your butt beat. We've turned that around. We've either been even or won the margin. In championship games, in rivalry games, it's huge...It's hard to win games when you don't take care of the football. They were great and had some really, really good teams that could really take advantage of those opportunities and they were a part of creating them, too. It is what it is. That was a tough stretch but we were a really good team. We were winning BCS bowls.

“We were winning ACC Championships and winning 11 games, but we would just get in this game and not take care of the ball.”

Swinney then reminded everyone that the Tigers have been dominant this season and that the ACC is a lot better than people think.

“I don't have to do much to get them motivated every week. They live in this world. It's just kind of every single week and it's been that way all year long,” he said. “Some guy said the other day that Y’all are pre-North Carolina. What season have you watched? It's like you want me to agree with that. We've dominated 11 out of 12 games. Dominated. We're not any different. There's no pre-North Carolina. We just had one close game where we stunk. We turned it over, we gave up big plays but we won. There's nobody been more consistent than us. We've been unbelievably consistent, but our league doesn't get the credit. Maybe we need some of the ACC guys on some of the big network shows that they have. There aren't any of them from the ACC. Maybe we need to put Tim Bourret on there.

“All I can tell you is we're 10-1 versus the SEC in our last 11 and we've won 115 games this decade, so has Ohio State and so has Alabama and we've played both of them. Our program is what people don't focus on. Let me tell you, Virginia would be 9-3 in any league. VTech - they'd be 8-4 in any league. There are a lot of good football teams in this league, but people just don't pay attention. At the end of the day, It's not my job to build a good league, it's my job to build a good program and I think we've done a nice job of that for a long time. This team has gone 12-0. 124 years of Clemson football and it's the fourth time, ever. 1981, 2015, 2018, 2019. It's hard to do and there are only three undefeated teams in America. If it's easy to be undefeated, how come there's more than three? There are some other weak leagues as people like to say. How come they aren't undefeated?”

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