Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers face a critical test on Saturday as they head to Miami to take on the Hurricanes.
Besides trying to keep their season afloat, there are questions in the bigger picture about their standing among the nation’s elite programs.
Swinney recently admitted that he hates the all-or-nothing mindset that some Tigers fans have.
“We’re at a point in our time, and I hate that, where if you don’t go undefeated, you’re losers. You’re terrible,” Swinney stated during his weekly call-in show.
“And it’s just such a terrible mindset … And honestly, maybe we need to lose a few games and lighten up the bandwagon. Sometimes the bandwagon can get a little too full.”
Dabo Swinney on bandwagon Clemson fans:
“We’re at a point in our time… if you don’t go undefeated, you’re losers. You’re terrible.
— On3 (@On3sports) October 17, 2023
His remarks come in the wake of a disappointing season start for the Tigers, marked by a 28-7 loss to Duke and another crushing defeat at the hands of Florida State.
Despite subsequent victories over Syracuse and Wake Forest, the team’s 4-2 record has fallen short of the high expectations that surround the program every season.
While Swinney acknowledged the challenges his team has faced, he remained optimistic about their long-term outlook.
“That’s the one good thing about going through a little bit of so-called adversity is you really find out who’s with you and who’s not,” he emphasized.
Swinney pointed out that the prevalence of a winning culture can sometimes lead to a diminished appreciation for victories.
“It’s not easy to win. It’s really, really hard to win, and sometimes you can win so much you lose appreciation for it,” he stressed.
“I appreciate some of the longtime Clemson people that have good perspective. Because these kids, they’re in a situation where there’s a lot of noise all the time. And I hate that, but that’s the world we live in and it comes with the territory.”
Sound bite from Dabo Swinney last night on Tiger Calls
"And honestly, maybe we need to lose a few games” pic.twitter.com/aX7m5IXVsX
— Back2Back 704 Dawg ➐ (@FSFRecruits) October 17, 2023
Swinney’s comments have drawn mixed reactions from Clemson’s fan base, with some emphasizing the need for a more realistic approach while others maintain that the high standards and expectations for the program should not drop.
On one hand, Swinney’s right in the sense that it’s very hard to win 12+ games every season.
On the other hand, it was he who institution a “strive-for-perfection” approach.
And it was that demand for excellence that catapulted the program to the current status they have.
Now, how long they continue to have that status is very much in question.
Saturday’s game against the Canes will give us a decent idea of the direction they’re heading…
CFB Fun Fact of the Day…
Clemson is 13-2 under Dabo Swinney following a bye week, winning those games by an avg of 17.3 ppg
Clemson is coming off a bye week and playing Miami this Saturday. pic.twitter.com/rSZysST057
— Chris Marler (@VernFunquist) October 17, 2023
What do you make of Swinney’s comments?
Looking ahead, will Clemson be able to stay among the nation’s elite programs?
Or are they slowly but surely falling from the top of the mountain?