Sa­ban praises Clem­son, Swin­ney for con­sis­tent suc­cess

The State - - Front Page - BY MATT CONNOLLY mcon­[email protected]­tate.com

Clem­son coach Dabo Swin­ney has pro­claimed mul­ti­ple times through­out the 2018 sea­son that his Tigers are just a part of the “rest of y’all” be­hind No. 1 Alabama.

“Back when I was a player we kind of had the big-time bus and then the R.O.Y. bus – the rest of y’all. It is kind of Alabama and the rest of y’all,” Swin­ney said when the first Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off rank­ings were re­leased in Oc­to­ber. “We are just kind of glad to be on the R.O.Y. bus right now and still have a chance.”

While Swin­ney has down­played Clem­son’s suc­cess in 2018, in re­al­ity the Tigers are closer to Alabama than to the rest of the col­lege foot­ball world.

Clem­son is back in the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off for the fourth con­sec­u­tive sea­son and has made the play­off four out of five years. Alabama is the only other team in the coun­try that has made at least four ap­pear­ances in the play­off as Nick Sa­ban’s team has been in the play­off all five years.

Still, Sa­ban, who is widely re­garded

as the top coach in col­lege foot­ball and one of the top coaches in col­lege foot­ball his­tory, is im­pressed by what Swin­ney has done at Clem­son.

Swin­ney, Sa­ban, Ok­la­homa coach Lin­coln Ri­ley and Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly par­tic­i­pated in a news con­fer­ence prior to the Col­lege Foot­ball Awards show Thurs­day night in At­lanta.

“There’s a lot of books writ­ten about how to be suc­cess­ful. There’s not many writ­ten on how to stay suc­cess­ful,” Sa­ban said Thurs­day night. “I have a tremen­dous amount of re­spect for the fact that they’ve been able to do it on a con­sis­tent ba­sis and be here over and over and over and over and play at that high level all the time and not have any com­pla­cency in the pro­gram.”

Clem­son and Alabama have played in the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off each of the past three years. If the Tigers beat Notre Dame in the Cot­ton Bowl and Alabama de­feats Ok­la­homa in the Orange Bowl the teams will meet for the fourth con­sec­u­tive sea­son.

Sa­ban pointed out in At­lanta that just as Alabama has had a great year, so have the Tigers.

“I think Clem­son has got an out­stand­ing pro­gram, an out­stand­ing team. I think Dabo does a re­ally, re­ally good job on a con­sis­tent ba­sis. They have good play­ers, but their play­ers re­ally play well,” Sa­ban said. “They’re well-coached. They don’t make a lot of mis­takes. They ex­e­cute well. It’s a dif­fi­cult prepa­ra­tion when you have to play against them. And I think they’ve been one of the most con­sis­tent, dom­i­nant teams through­out this en­tire sea­son.”

JOHN BAZEMORE AP

Coach Dabo Swin­ney has down­played Clem­son’s suc­cess in 2018, but the Tigers are gain­ing ground on Alabama.

Nick Sa­ban

JOHN BAZEMORE AP

Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off coaches, from left, Nick Sa­ban, of Alabama; Lin­coln Ri­ley, of Ok­la­homa; Dabo Swin­ney, of Clem­son; and Brian Kelly, of Notre Dame pose with the col­lege foot­ball cham­pi­onship tro­phy af­ter a news con­fer­ence Thurs­day in At­lanta.

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