The country loved watching Dabo Swinney get his rear end beaten. The arrogant, loudmouth coach — as he’s often perceived — finally wrote a check with his mouth that his talented Clemson football team couldn’t cash.
The whole thing is Coach Speak 101, and Dabo gloriously failed, much to the enjoyment of, well, EVERYONE who is not a Clemson fan. Just check social media to see how everyone is piling on the coach.
Let’s think about just how stupid it is what Dabo did.
He and his coaches surely have worked tirelessly, as call coaches do, putting in 16-hour days to make sure and put their football team in the best possible position to succeed.
The Clemson players worked their tails off, doing all the grunt work, sacrificing their personal lives and freedoms to keep playing during COVID and earning a trip back to the College Football Playoff.
Only to have their coach sabotage the whole damn thing over something insanely silly.
As Justin Fields and Ohio State destroyed Clemson in the national semifinal, 49-28, the country feasted on Dabo all night long. All because he decided to throw away his team’s entire season with a pathetically tone deaf and selfish moment of arrogance when he ranked Ohio State No. 11 in his coaches poll ballot.
Instead of just heaping praise on the upcoming opponent, as all coaches do, Dabo foolishly and hilariously chose to go this route.
He poked the bear at Ohio State, then got eaten by Ryan Day’s motivated team.
In the grand scheme of things, polls really shouldn’t matter all that much. Most college football fans have uttered those words at some point in their lives.
But here’s the thing: Polls DO MATTER, because at the end of the day, sports in general and football in particular are all about respect. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, will fire up a player or team more than the feeling of being disrespected — by anyone.
It doesn’t even matter if they truly and actually were disrespected. It only matters if they FEEL disrespected.
I address that further in response to the comment in this tweet:
With all due respect this is nonsense. Did you hear what he actually said. His vote was 100% about them playing 6 games and he stated about 20 times OSU was one of best teams in country and capable of winning national title. Clemson didnt lose because OSU was ranked 11th by him.
— John S (@panthers2533) January 2, 2021
Those 18-22 year old kids on Ohio State’s team don’t care about his reasoning. ALL they saw was No. 11. That’s it. They felt slighted about 11. I’m sure they harped on 11. Logic & reason don’t matter when it comes to athletes & coaches using disrespect card as motivation.
— Cory Giger (@CoryGiger) January 2, 2021
The Buckeyes obviously felt disrespected, then they did something about it by opening up a can of whoop ass on Clemson.
Dabo Swinney knows this all too well. He has played the disrespect card on numerous occasions with his own Clemson program, which despite its great success in recent years has often been overshadowed to a degree because it plays in a weak ACC. Here’s a good example from just last season:
Once again, Swinney is using perceived slights against his team to provide fuel for his team entering the postseason.
“Everybody loves a challenge, or at least we love one here,” Swinney said. “You’re always looking for little things along the way…free fuel, man. When you’re going across country, man, free fuel is good. Gas costs a lot of money. So when you can get free fuel, it’s always good.”
For this coach in particular to foolishly overlook the impact of him disrespecting Ohio State by ranking this outstanding Buckeyes team at No. 11 will leave Dabo as the poster child for idiotic bulletin board material going into a big game.
Swinney felt that because Ohio State played only six games, it didn’t deserve to be ranked any higher than a whole bunch of teams that played many more games.
That is pure ignorance.
And yet, here is Dabo after the game, doubling down on his poll ranking and saying he has no regrets.
Despite the lopsided loss, Dabo Swinney doubled down on ranking Ohio State No. 11, saying "I don't regret any of that. Polls have nothing to do with motivation." https://t.co/Qd79aF8xcX pic.twitter.com/zk8hEjrkze
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) January 2, 2021
This is a football coach, and his job in the coaches poll is to try and rank the teams in order of how good they are, or how good he believes them to be. If Dabo truly believes Ohio State was only the 11th best team, then fine. He’s so terribly wrong, but fine.
No, Dabo did all this to make a statement. He wanted to knock the Big Ten for its decision to delay football, and he wanted to slight Ohio State for doing nothing wrong on its own because it was only able to play six games.
He arrogantly believed he could do all of that, and that it wouldn’t come back to bite him in the ass.
He was wrong.
And you know what, it sure would be awesome if Dabo would come out and say just that: “I was wrong. I made a mistake. I should not have voted Ohio State No. 11.”
But these college coaches in general — kings of their institutions because of their money and power — usually cannot say those words “I was wrong” because their egos simply will not allow it.
Dabo Swinney, in particular, is as arrogant as they come in college football, and sure, maybe he’s earned the right to be with what he’s done at Clemson. Good for him for all of his success.
But with great success comes great responsibility — and part of that responsibility and leadership is to stand up and admit when you’ve made a mistake.
Dabo made a big mistake giving Ohio State plenty of “free fuel,” and the Buckeyes used it to blow up the Tigers.
People are having a field day poking fun at Swinney. Here’s a sample of some of the reaction on Twitter, starting with none other than LeBron James:
I’m looking forward to seeing what Dabo answer is when they ask him if he still think @OhioStateFB is the 11th best team in the country.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 2, 2021
3 of the hardest words for people like Dabo to say together:
— AJ Jones (@lunchbreakkyok) January 2, 2021
Breaking News: Coach Dabo Swinney was run over by the number 11 bus! The only major injuries were to his ego and credibility 😂
— Todd Osborne (@ToddWOsborne) January 2, 2021
Dabo said Ohio State didn't deserve to be in the playoff and then ranked them #11. Regardless of Dabo's reasoning, as a Clemson fan, you have to admit it was monumentally stupid for Dabo to motivate his opponent in this way, right?!? 😂
— Prime timer (@bjay1121) January 2, 2021
Hey Dabo, this is the last time someone spent their time talking instead of properly preparing.
How it started How it went pic.twitter.com/zDMDKEBX47
— Gee Scott🎙 (@GeeScottSr) January 2, 2021
Get Nittany Sports Now in your inbox
Sign-up for email updates and get the whole story first from Cory Giger and the Nittany Sports Now team, delivered straight to your inbox.