CLEMSON, S.C. — The SEC has received a lot of praise in the last two weeks. It has a team, Alabama, playing for a national title game Monday night — if the Tide wins, it’ll give the conference it’s seventh national title in nine years. The SEC also just set a record with an eight-win bowl season.
But a certain Clemson player thinks the conference is getting more credit than it deserves.
Clemson wide receiver Artavis Scott has the chance to help bring something to Tiger fans that haven’t had since 1981 — a national title. To do so, his team has to defeat the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide, whose 38-0 thrashing of Michigan State in last week’s College Football Playoff semifinal makes them look like one of the most dominant teams in the country.
As a result, Alabama is is a 7-point favorite over Clemson. However, Scott said his team isn’t treating this week, or their opponent any differently.
“Sometimes you look on film and you’re like, ‘alright we’re about to destroy this team.’” Scott said. “That’s [Alabama] not a team you’re just going to go into this battle with and think you’re just going to do whatever. But you also know that you trust your preparation just like they trust theirs. You aren’t going to change what you do for anyone else.”
Clemson, although it is the only undefeated team left in the country, has shown consistency week after week on both sides of the ball and holds signature wins over Notre Dame, Florida State and Oklahoma, is still considered the underdog for Monday night’s matchup. Scott says the team not being the favorite is another example of the disrespect Clemson has seemingly received all season long, even after it started winning big games.
“It’s crazy, right?” Scott said when first asked about being the underdog. “It’s motivation. We look at it as they don’t have any respect (for us). I mean we already knew that was going to happen. Nobody’s given us respect through this whole thing. So we’re just going to do what we do, we aren’t out here to go about what people say, what they think. Because at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. They don’t play the game that we do.”
Clemson teams under Dabo Swinney have a 7-7 record when facing SEC teams. Scott, when asked about the SEC’s national perception, especially after the record-breaking bowl season it’s had, made it clear that at Clemson and in the ACC, there really is no big brother mentality when it comes to the SEC vs. the rest of the country in college football.
“They’re on the same playing field that we are. All it is [is that] they’re in a different conference. They do the same thing we do every Saturday. They go out and play the games, they put their shorts on just like we do.” Scott said.
So is the SEC perhaps not as good as national perception makes it out to be? Scott certainly thinks so
“Overhyped? Yeah, definitely.” They just don’t show us respect, that’s all it is,” Scott continued. “We just have to go out there and prove ourselves like we’re gonna do.”