Clemson coach Dabo Swinney parked the “ROY bus,” or “rest of y’all bus” following the Tigers’ dominant performance against Alabama in last year’s national title game.
After Clemson had a close call against North Carolina on Sept. 28, holding on for a 21-20 victory, he spent the bye week getting it out of storage, figuratively of course.
Swinney proclaimed throughout the second half of the 2018 season that Clemson was on the “ROY bus,” just a part of the group of teams that he referred to as the “rest of y’all” chasing Alabama.
That narrative was gone throughout the first four weeks of 2019 with the Tigers ranked No. 1, but after Clemson faced some criticism following its last game and dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 in both the AP and Coaches Poll, the bus is back.
“I had the open week, so I went out to the shed this week, and I took the tarp off the ROY bus. Just took it off,” Swinney said. “I thought we were off the ROY bus for a while. I just took it off. Pumped the tires back up, gave it a bath. Ran down there to the $5 oil change, propped up the seats a little bit. We’re back on the ROY bus, man. Here we go.”
Several analysts dropped Clemson from their top four following the close call against North Carolina, including ESPN’s Paul Finebaum who said it’s “ludicrous” to rank the Tigers in the top 2.
With doubt creeping in from some analysts, Swinney, who is one of the best motivators in college football, used the criticism as an opportunity to play the underdog role.
“He always takes the negative or things about our program and uses it for good,” running back Darien Rencher said. “Some people are writing us off, but we know we’re going to be special this year. We’ll probably get a ROY bus t-shirt like always. We thought we were done with it, but I guess he’ll probably make a new logo and give us a shirt soon like he always does. But yea, we’re back on the ROY bus.”
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence added that a little bit of pressure is off now that the Tigers are no longer ranked No. 1.
“It’s kind of nice now,” Lawrence said. “Everyone says we suck so we’re kind of in the back seat and can just go to work and not really worry about all the No. 1 expectations and all that.”
Who: Florida State (3-2, 2-1 ACC) at No. 2 Clemson (5-0, 3-0)
When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Memorial Stadium (80,500), Clemson, S.C.
Line: Clemson by 26