Dabo Swinney says ACC has proved 'we're as good as anybody out there'

'We don’t try to say we’re better than anybody or anything like that, but we’ve always maintained we’re as good as anybody'

Clemson's Dabo Swinney calls for a two-point conversion play during the fourth quarter with Ohio State at the Discover Orange Bowl in Sun Life Stadium Miami, Florida.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Dabo Swinney calls for a two-point conversion play during the fourth quarter with Ohio State at the Discover Orange Bowl in Sun Life Stadium Miami, Florida.

In stepping forward this year, winning both the national title and a second BCS bowl, Dabo Swinney says the ACC confirmed what the league's coaches have believed for a while: 'we're as good as anybody out there.'

“Somebody had to break the streak,” said Swinney of the SEC's stranglehold on the national championship. “I think we can all take pride in that, just like the SEC has always taken pride in whoever wins the national championship. It’s great that this conference stepped up and got it done.

“The SEC is a great, tremendous conference. We don’t try to say we’re better than anybody or anything like that, but we’ve always maintained we’re as good as anybody out there. So it’s good to see a couple teams emerge as dominant teams, and we need that in this conference.”

As the ACC moves forward with a 14-team lineup (with Louisville replacing Maryland next season) and Notre Dame as an active, affiliated participant, Swinney believes the next step is for Clemson and Florida State to maintain their national stature, and for a couple more teams to join in the mix.

“Hopefully we’ll have a couple more,” Swinney said. “The SEC, that’s what they’ve done consistently, over the last decade, have their 1-2-3 teams really really good and nationally relevant. That’s what we need in this conference, especially as we move into the College Football Playoff scenarios. We want to be on that seam, from a conference standpoint and from a Clemson standpoint.”

Swinney said he's proud of what Florida State accomplished.

“I text back and forth with Jimbo (Fisher), congratulating him,” Swinney said. “They’ve done a fantastic job. We know very well the kind of team they have. It’s good to have the national championship back in this conference, and now we want our turn

“So we’ll keep trying to get to the top of that mountain.”

Upcoming discussions by the ACC may include changes to the league's schedule and division arrangement. Syracuse has requested that the league reconsider moving to a nine-game conference schedule, which would allow more crossover play. Meanwhile, commissioner John Swofford says the league is interested in pursuing greater flexibility and “autonomy” in determining which teams play for the ACC championship.

For the upcoming season, Clemson knows it will play eight ACC games: North Carolina, Syracuse, Louisville and NC State at home, and Florida State, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Boston College on the road. Dates for games will be announced by the ACC, probably in early February.

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Comments » 22

lhaselden writes:

I think the conference needs to go to 9 games as well. I would also consider having the division championship determined only by division games. That way there is a balance in difficulty. I could see FSU playing Miami and VT one year, Clemson playing GT and UNC and Loisville playing Pitt and Duke and Louisville winnign the division.
With 3 cross division games the disparity could be greater.

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

If the conference went to 9 games then they should make a rule no team can play any body other than a team from division 1A or whatever it's called these days. Let's stop playing the PC's and Wofford's of the world and play Alabama and Oklahoma and folks like that. Send the instate schools a check but don't play the game. They games are useless.

radtiger writes:

We cant ride off of Florida State coat tail....The ACC has (1)Good Team and thats Fla State and (1) Average Team and thats Clemson.....all of the other teams are Below Average when it comes to the NCAA.Dabo claiming the ACC conference is as good as any other is DELUSIONAL.

lhaselden writes:

I think the FCS games will go away for teams striving to get in the 4 team playin! But Wake and others (us too in the past) need to play FCS teams to get to bowl eligibility.

TheTruth46 writes:

in response to radtiger:

We cant ride off of Florida State coat tail....The ACC has (1)Good Team and thats Fla State and (1) Average Team and thats Clemson.....all of the other teams are Below Average when it comes to the NCAA.Dabo claiming the ACC conference is as good as any other is DELUSIONAL.

We have disagreed in the past, but totally agree with you on this subject. The ACC is not even close to being the SEC, the Big12, nor the PAC12, and Dabo must be sleep walking. Very much the equal of the Big10. Nice post my friend.

CUTigers1865 writes:

A couple of points here: I see a lot of stuff about not playing the Woffords, SC States, and Furmans of the world and playing other high profile teams.. I completely agree with that however, other teams from other conferences won't agree with that. If you lose one of those "Big games" and say drop one in your conference.. If you look at it from a National perspective your season is done. Why would anyone risk that when clearly those are two wins on your resume'. I'd much rather have two wins against FBS schools than two losses or being 1-1. We already play SC as an out conference SEC school so I don't have a problem with playing Wofford, Furman, etc.

I know you can't compare the ACC to other conference in terms of a complete conference but I will say conference strength should be measured by your best teams and not your middle of the road and low tier schools. For instance, if you talk to SEC peeps they consider Ole Miss, Miss. ST. UF, and UT tough teams to play.. that is simply a delusion. Some of those teams haven't been contenders ever and a couple have a trio of championships between them in the past 20 years..

My point finally, If you put Clemson and FSU up against any of the top teams in any conference, they would have a shot at beating them and making it a game and it was proven this year by both FSU & Clemson. AGain, you measure conference strength by big games, not by middle of the road conference match ups.

TigerNE writes:

I'm always fascinated....or maybe more amused by those who just can't wait to jump on Dabo, the Tigers, the ACC, whatever. Clearly some didn't read this very well. Nowhere does it suggest Dabo is saying the league or the team doesn't need to improve. The "just as good as" statement is made in every locker room in every sport at every level, starting with PeeWee to pro. At least in my experience.

Unlike some I just don't have this deep-seated SEC envy. I agree that the ACC does not produce as many teams that win often outside of the conference as the SEC does, and maybe I'll concede the PAC there too. But I see a lot of improvement now and coming for the ACC that can place it in the same class as either Big. We'll see if Louisville money will catapult them higher in the long run now that it has moved up to the ACC. But I'll put money on at least 3 teams being steady competitors with the SEC - FSU, CU, TheU, and maybe a 4th outside of Louisville. Just can't say who yet. VT? Will they ever recover? Some may question including TheU, but for me any further struggles they have won't be due to talent like other ACC teams. It will all be on Golden's back.

13tiger5 writes:

in response to radtiger:

We cant ride off of Florida State coat tail....The ACC has (1)Good Team and thats Fla State and (1) Average Team and thats Clemson.....all of the other teams are Below Average when it comes to the NCAA.Dabo claiming the ACC conference is as good as any other is DELUSIONAL.

If we are average now, what were we five years ago? A top 10 team is not average my friend

KIMOSAMI writes:

in response to 13tiger5:

If we are average now, what were we five years ago? A top 10 team is not average my friend

radtiger and truth46 are scummy buttbuddy trolls.....possibly the same scumbag.

TigerFan95 writes:

"Average" teams don't win back-to-back bowls over top-ten teams.

TheTruth46 writes:

in response to KIMOSAMI:

radtiger and truth46 are scummy buttbuddy trolls.....possibly the same scumbag.

You are quite interesting lil buddy. I can't decide though who you might really be, and hiding out in this website. First, I thought you were Tonto, but decided against that. Now,I'm thinking you are either Jethro Bodine or Goober Pyle. Oh, and one more thing...I'd bet your IQ and shoe size are the same number.

Xander5000 writes:

We are in the ACC,...so what. We have to play who is on our schedule. Though we need better out of conference teams to play, Clemson is in the ACC, but we don't need to sort of team up with them. When the season starts, and during the season its supposed to be Tiger eat whoever is in front of us. No matter what conference we are in or what conference we play against.

KIMOSAMI writes:

in response to TheTruth46:

You are quite interesting lil buddy. I can't decide though who you might really be, and hiding out in this website. First, I thought you were Tonto, but decided against that. Now,I'm thinking you are either Jethro Bodine or Goober Pyle. Oh, and one more thing...I'd bet your IQ and shoe size are the same number.

Here I rushed to the keyboard....anxious to engage you with a back-and-forth about you being a troll and such......and then you send that zinger at the end about shoe size and IQ......

Well...ya got me. I can't compete with wit like that.

I GIVE UP. PLEEEEESE NO MORE.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to TigerNE:

I'm always fascinated....or maybe more amused by those who just can't wait to jump on Dabo, the Tigers, the ACC, whatever. Clearly some didn't read this very well. Nowhere does it suggest Dabo is saying the league or the team doesn't need to improve. The "just as good as" statement is made in every locker room in every sport at every level, starting with PeeWee to pro. At least in my experience.

Unlike some I just don't have this deep-seated SEC envy. I agree that the ACC does not produce as many teams that win often outside of the conference as the SEC does, and maybe I'll concede the PAC there too. But I see a lot of improvement now and coming for the ACC that can place it in the same class as either Big. We'll see if Louisville money will catapult them higher in the long run now that it has moved up to the ACC. But I'll put money on at least 3 teams being steady competitors with the SEC - FSU, CU, TheU, and maybe a 4th outside of Louisville. Just can't say who yet. VT? Will they ever recover? Some may question including TheU, but for me any further struggles they have won't be due to talent like other ACC teams. It will all be on Golden's back.

If you look at the ACC as a whole, it's awful. No one outside of FSU and Clemson are competitive anymore. Frank Beamer has seen his best years pass. Miami has the least financial commitment to football of any program with that much tradition. It's baffling. And they're just now finally putting major scandal behind them. GT is about as good as Paul Johnson is going to make them. NC State and UVa are dumpster fires. BC, WF, and MD don't have the resources to be competitive. UNC is only in the news for scandal anymore. Duke has a TRACK AROUND THEIR FOOTBALL FIELD (says enough). It's to early to tell what happens with Pitt, Syracuse, and Louisville.

I hate to harp on facilities and financial commitment but there's a huge difference of commitment to football b/t FSU/Clemson and the rest of the ACC and it's showing up in the results. It's not always the best indicator but look at the seating capacities of the SEC and ACC venues. You'll get a pretty good picture as to why the SEC is the best conference in football.

TheTruth46 writes:

in response to KIMOSAMI:

Here I rushed to the keyboard....anxious to engage you with a back-and-forth about you being a troll and such......and then you send that zinger at the end about shoe size and IQ......

Well...ya got me. I can't compete with wit like that.

I GIVE UP. PLEEEEESE NO MORE.

Agreed my friend...it is a truce.

TigerNE writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

If you look at the ACC as a whole, it's awful. No one outside of FSU and Clemson are competitive anymore. Frank Beamer has seen his best years pass. Miami has the least financial commitment to football of any program with that much tradition. It's baffling. And they're just now finally putting major scandal behind them. GT is about as good as Paul Johnson is going to make them. NC State and UVa are dumpster fires. BC, WF, and MD don't have the resources to be competitive. UNC is only in the news for scandal anymore. Duke has a TRACK AROUND THEIR FOOTBALL FIELD (says enough). It's to early to tell what happens with Pitt, Syracuse, and Louisville.

I hate to harp on facilities and financial commitment but there's a huge difference of commitment to football b/t FSU/Clemson and the rest of the ACC and it's showing up in the results. It's not always the best indicator but look at the seating capacities of the SEC and ACC venues. You'll get a pretty good picture as to why the SEC is the best conference in football.

The ACC will never match the SEC for school size which leads to budget/money nor for heavy dedication to football over most other sports. In some cases it's almost exclusively about football SEC.

Cutcliffe has proven Duke can still be the Vandy or even better in the ACC. FSU, CU, and Miami have great or steadily increasing recruiting classes. UNC and NCSU have improved their recruiting at least with the last class. My point has less to do with the trying to match point for point the strength of the football-exclusive SEC schools and more to do with the fact that the ACC is much better than either you or _radtiger_ give credit for. It is not a dumpster fire, but a conference with a competitive top end that is getting even more competitive, an average middle and perhaps a weak bottom end. In the playoff era, I expect to see an ACC team in selected as often or more often than a Big team. SEC will always be the favorite for the near future. If that bothers some, they should consider changing their alligiance or just suffer with the ACC. It's a choice, I guess.

And as far as the money and the quality of facilities including stadiums go, it is all tied to school size and fan base to a big degree. The top 5+ SEC schools including Bama and UGA and even SCar spend more than the top ACC school. How'd that work for UGA in August or Auburn in the NC or even Bama versus Oklahoma?

radtiger writes:

in response to 13tiger5:

If we are average now, what were we five years ago? A top 10 team is not average my friend

Yes we are average now....5 yrs ago, we were below Average and we are a Top Ten team because of the weak schedule that we have all year long...playing the likes of BC, VT, GT,Syracuse Citadel, Wake Forest and the other 7 Dwarfs....During regular season, we played 3 ranked teams and lost to 2 of them, Having History made for having the most points against us at Home Field on National TV....TOTAL EMBARRASSMENT that only a fool would forget....

TigerNE writes:

in response to radtiger:

Yes we are average now....5 yrs ago, we were below Average and we are a Top Ten team because of the weak schedule that we have all year long...playing the likes of BC, VT, GT,Syracuse Citadel, Wake Forest and the other 7 Dwarfs....During regular season, we played 3 ranked teams and lost to 2 of them, Having History made for having the most points against us at Home Field on National TV....TOTAL EMBARRASSMENT that only a fool would forget....

Clearly you are not a Tiger fan. The ACC has never fit your expectation of a decent conference (my words). I conclude that from what you type in your posts, not by knowing anything more. Why don't you just confess your true dedication? It is NOT Clemson or the ACC.

TheTruth46 writes:

in response to TigerFan95:

"Average" teams don't win back-to-back bowls over top-ten teams.

But, they do lose 5 consecutive years to their in-state, also top 10 rival. USC is not Weak Forest, Marysland, or those other EZZ cream puffs. FSU is good...really good. CU is competitively average, the remainder are below average to pitiful.

TigerNE writes:

in response to TheTruth46:

But, they do lose 5 consecutive years to their in-state, also top 10 rival. USC is not Weak Forest, Marysland, or those other EZZ cream puffs. FSU is good...really good. CU is competitively average, the remainder are below average to pitiful.

By your measure, average must mean ranking below the 1% mark. Out of 120 FBS teams, being in the top 12 or above seems far, far from average.

Oh, wait, lemme guess, the ratings are a bunch of hokum, right? Lower than #12 SEC teams are really above average but just get unfair ratings. Big schools, big stadiums, bid budgets and all that mean they are better than lousy ACC teams.

TheTruth46 writes:

in response to TigerNE:

By your measure, average must mean ranking below the 1% mark. Out of 120 FBS teams, being in the top 12 or above seems far, far from average.

Oh, wait, lemme guess, the ratings are a bunch of hokum, right? Lower than #12 SEC teams are really above average but just get unfair ratings. Big schools, big stadiums, bid budgets and all that mean they are better than lousy ACC teams.

My measure says...you played 3 ranked teams this season, and lost to 2 of them. Your other wins were against powers like SC State and several EZZ cream puffs. Care to argue that?

radtiger writes:

in response to TheTruth46:

My measure says...you played 3 ranked teams this season, and lost to 2 of them. Your other wins were against powers like SC State and several EZZ cream puffs. Care to argue that?

A M E N.....

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