After dismantling the Alabama Crimson Tide, 44-16 in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship, on their way to winning their second national championship in three seasons, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was still adamant that it was Alabama and the “rest of y’all.”
"We drove the ROY bus all the way out here to wherever the heck in California we are to play a football game in a beautiful stadium and a beautiful place," Swinney said after the game. "We're proud members of the ROY bus, so for all them other teams out there on that bus, hey listen, I hope that you get a little hope from us and a little inspiration that if we can do it, anybody can do it.”
It turns out that the Tigers can fuel up the ROY bus again in 2021, because to the Tigers, who currently sit at 3-2, with their two losses coming to ranked teams, being unranked is a sign of disrespect.
"Yeah it's kind of frustrating when you look at some of the rankings," linebacker James Skalski said. "We are an unranked team. Our two losses are against the No. 1 team in the country on a neutral site, 10-3. And a double-overtime loss vs. a top 25 team on the road.
"That's kind of frustrating. Almost feel a little disrespected. I mean I get it."
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The disrespect card is one that Swinney has pulled out numerous times in his tenure—especially during the Tigers' recent run of success—but this time, at least according to Skalski, it is real.
"I think in the past, I feel like we've earned a little more respect," Skalski said. "And I feel like we should be given a little more right now in particular. All we can control is what we can control: just keep playing. All of the rest will take care of itself."
However unlikely it may be, and unlikely is probably putting it lightly, seeing as the Tigers are currently unranked for the first time since November of 2014, the Tigers still believe that all—yes all—of their goals are still within their grasp.
"Nothing is off the table for us. Nothing is," Skalski said. "We just have to keep one game at a time. Just try to win the next one. That's all we're going to focus on."
"It's all about how you finish. We have a saying, 'No one remembers September.' You remember November when it's all said and done. You can start bad or great, but it's all about how you finish. 3-2 is done. Nothing we can do to change the start. We can grow from it though and get better, and I believe we're doing that. Guess we'll find out real soon."
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