Clemson coach Dabo Swinney knows national championships don’t come easy these days, not with the greatest dynasty in college football history still standing its ground on the college football landscape.
However, he takes a lot of pride in the chunk of land Clemson has claimed on his watch, and embraces the challenge that Nick Saban and Alabama present to earn it.
“We’ve won 61 games in the last five years, and Alabama’s won 62, so to actually play Alabama again for the third time, you know, it’s just kind of the way it’s supposed to be, at least for us anyway,” Swinney said in an interview on the Monday Opening Drive. “We’ve had to earn our way for the past eight years around here.”
Amazingly, Clemson and Alabama are getting ready to face off for the third straight time in the College Football Playoff, with the schools splitting each of the last two for all the marbles and providing instant classics in the process.
Swinney talked about how the Tigers and Crimson Tide have developed a rivalry that’s good for fans, although maybe not so much for those who support the schools involved.
“Sometimes in sports, rivalries kind of pop up from time to time that maybe you didn’t expect or whatever, but all the sudden they happen, but they’re very healthy, respectful rivalries. That’s kind of what it’s become here,” Swinney said. “I don’t think Alabama people are probably excited about playing us, and we’re not really excited about playing them, because we know both teams are really good. Both teams are capable of winning.”
Swinney thinks the third installment of the newborn rivalry will be just as thrilling as the others.
“I think Alabama people respect good football, and so do we here at Clemson. It’s become a heck of a matchup. You look at the previous two games and the way the teams play. At the end of the day, someone’s going to win and lose, but you just love to see guys play with unbelievable effort, and that’s what’s happened in these last two games, and that’s what you’ll get this game.”
You can listen to the full interview below: