National CFB writer: "Clemson has become the 'it' school"


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Clemson is going for its fourth-straight ACC title and a fifth under Dabo Swinney since 2011, also in the hunt for a fourth-straight Playoff bid and a third national title.
Clemson is going for its fourth-straight ACC title and a fifth under Dabo Swinney since 2011, also in the hunt for a fourth-straight Playoff bid and a third national title.

Dabo Swinney has built a powerhouse program since taking over midway through the 2008 campaign.

And he's had plenty of help along the way from the Clemson administration, which one national college football writer sees as the key to the Tigers taking the top spot in the ACC.

Yahoo Sports writer Pete Thamel was asked by CBS Sports Radio this week what helped propel Clemson over Florida State in recent years.

“They (FSU) won the national title five years ago, so they have not precipitously fallen off the map,” Thamel said. “But here is where things went sideways at Florida State – and one of the reasons that Jimbo Fisher said that (he) left. He’s watched Florida State invest in all of the wrong facilities, while Clemson’s administrators have done everything right. They have the $55 million (complex) with the slide and the bowling alley and putt-putt. Clemson has become the ‘it’ school – just like in the ’90s Florida State was the ‘it’ school."

Clemson football is in the midst of its most successful stretch under Swinney, tallying four ACC titles, the school's second national championship and three total Playoff appearances.

"They (FSU) were the ‘it’ school, and now those same junior high kids watch Deshaun Watson and they see Dabo, who’s just this culture warrior and is beloved and is like the perfect coach for this millennial generation,” Thamel said. “He’s a connector. He’s the opposite of the meathead Larry Fedora type. He is just the quintessential modern-era coach. He’s positive, he’s behind guys, he’s a relentless recruiter, so they kind of have the ‘it’ coach right now in that part of the world not named Nick Saban and they have the ‘it’ program.

"They have the dudes. They’ve recruited. Their defensive line should have three first-round picks this year.”

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