Clemson is now a national power under Dabo Swinney, and former Tigers coach Tommy Bowden does not expect that to change anytime soon.
Bowden, who is now an analyst for the ACC Network, said Clemson has everything you need to be the top program in the ACC and one of the best in the country.
The Tigers, the defending national champions, have played for the national title the past two years and are No. 4 in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings.
“They’ll be that good for a while because they’ve got everything in place,” Bowden said. “They’ll be the top dog, I think, for a while.”
Bowden was replaced by Swinney in the middle of the 2008 season after the Tigers got off to a 3-3 start, including a 1-2 mark in ACC play.
Clemson finished the season 7-6 and moved into improved facilities in the offseason.
The Tigers have enjoyed great success under Swinney, particularly since 2011. Clemson has won 10 games or more six consecutive years and is on pace to do so again in 2017.
“Gosh, when I went there it was just trying to get out of the metal lockers we had, just try to make steps, but he’s taken it way beyond that,” Bowden said. “Clemson has continued to lead the arms race from a facilities standpoint.”
Bowden said he hired Swinney because he was a good recruiter.
“He was out of coaching when I hired him, but his coaching resume was real good,” Bowden said. “I think it’s a combination of him being a good coach, him being a good recruiter. We had some good players there, and then his ability to hire a good staff. They’ve taken a leap.”
Swinney and Bowden still communicate occasionally, mostly through text messages.
“One of the reasons I always liked him is because he always texted me on my birthday. He was the only assistant to text me on my birthday, and he still does that,” Bowden said. “I see him at the ACC media days in the summer, but with me doing my show on Saturday I don’t get a chance to go to the games.”