Clemson coach Dabo Swinney won’t be inviting television-radio personality Colin Cowherd over for dinner anytime soon.
Swinney went on a mini-rant following Clemson’s 35-31 national-championship victory over top-ranked Alabama, because entering the four-team playoffs Cowherd – who now works for Fox Sports entities – called the Tigers a “fraud.”
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“Clemson’s a fraud. Clemson’s going to get their ears boxed by whoever they play,” Cowherd said on his radio program before the start of the four-team playoffs. “They should have three losses, maybe four. I don’t buy into Clemson.”
Swinney took umbrage to that assessment after the 14-1 Tigers beat the previously undefeated Crimson Tide. He made sure to challenge media at his postgame press conference to point out how wrong Cowherd’s assessment was.
“Ask Alabama if we’re a fraud. Ask Ohio State if we’re a fraud. Ask Oklahoma if we’re a fraud,” Swinney said early Tuesday morning. “The only fraud is that guy (Cowherd), because he didn’t do his homework. I hope y’all print that.”
Speaking of bravado, Swinney got riled up post-game at the suggestion it was any sort of upset that Clemson beat Alabama.
“There was no upset,” said Swinney. “I told them when we left the locker room (pre-game), 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.”
Beating the best
It’s hard to argue with the gauntlet the Tigers faced this season to win the title: Clemson beat every program that has won a national championship in the previous seven seasons: Alabama (four times), Ohio State, Florida State and Auburn. (And that 31-0 beating tagged on the Buckeyes was maybe the most impressive performance of the year in big games.)
Tuesday morning, Swinney declared the ACC the “best and deepest” conference in college football. While that figures to rankle SEC and Big Ten fans, the ACC did go 9-3 in bowl games, if you include the national championship game in that group.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson, who graduated in December, confirmed early Tuesday morning he will enter the NFL draft with a season of college eligibility remaining.
Along with Watson, the Tigers will lose wide receiver Mike Williams, running back Wayne Gallman and tight end Jordan Leggett. The biggest losses on defense will be lineman Carlos Watkins, linebacker Ben Boulware and cornerback Cordrea Tankersly.
The Tigers will be challenged to replace Watson at quarterback, but should be terrific along the defensive line, with end Christian Wilkins and super-talented sophomore-to-be tackle Dexter Lawrence.
Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell