TAMPA, Fla. — Dabo Swinney, still caught up in the emotion of Clemson’s 35-31 win over Alabama in Tuesday’s early morning hours, didn’t want to hear any more talk about his program being an underdog.
“There was no upset tonight, (and) that’s the last thing I told them when we left the locker room,” Swinney said. “I said, ‘When we win the game tonight I don’t want to hear one word about this being an upset. The only upset is going to be if we don’t win the dadgum game. I don’t want to hear one word about it. This is an expectation,’ the last thing I told them.
“We expected to win it last year. When we take the field, we expect to win because we work our tails off, and we got a committed group of people, staff, players, everybody.”
The Tigers were technically a touchdown underdog to the Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff championship game rematch from a season ago, when Alabama scored a 45-40 victory in Glendale, Ariz.
But for most of Monday night’s game at Raymond James Stadium, it appeared the oddsmakers had it right.
The Tide were controlling the ground game and leading 24-14 entering the final quarter.
Swinney never bought in to that notion in the days leading up to the game, however, and he took offense to those that did.
“One of the questions right before the game was how are you going to block these guys, like we’re chopped liver,” Swinney said. “I get so tired of that stuff. I really do.
“We wanted to play Alabama. Now y’all have got to change your stories. You have to change the narrative.”
Clemson’s place atop college football can not be questioned.
In addition to knocking off the previously unanimous No. 1 -ranked Crimson Tide, the Tigers managed to score victories over the past seven national championship programs this season.
Swinney said in the days leading up to the game he wanted to beat Alabama, because to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.
List of previous seven national champions, with Clemson result this season
2015: Alabama – Clemson, 35-31
2014: Ohio State – Clemson, 31-0
2013: Florida State – Clemson, 37-34
2012: Alabama – Clemson, 35-31
2011: Alabama – Clemson, 35-31
2010: Auburn – Clemson, 19-13
2009: Alabama – Clemson, 35-31