Swinney: College Football is "Great"

Zach Lentz

College football is a special sport that brings together people from all walks of life.

For 15 days a year, people that would normally not speak to each other or have any reason to congregate together can be seen high-fiving, hugging, cheering and even crying.

However, as much good comes out of the game of college football, more and more we are seeing the use of drugs, player suspensions, abuse and even coaches abusing players, both verbally and physically, making head lines.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was asked by Jim Rome of CBS Sports Radio to weigh in with his thoughts, in light of these headlines.

“I think that college football is such a special opportunity for so many people— just provides so many opportunities and joy for so many people and that hasn’t changed,” Swinney said. “I just think that we live in a world today where there’s so much exposure. I think the game is great, probably as good as it’s ever been. I think there’s so much good, but in the world we live in today with social media and all that stuff the bad really gets exposed—and I think that’s really good. I think that’s one of the good areas of social media is that it exposes the bad quickly. It’s also bad at times because people can paint with a broad brush and it’s all bad, but it’s not.

“Twenty years ago there was bad things that happened, 20 years from now there’s going to be bad things that happen because there’s people involved. There’s always going to be mistakes and disappointments and bad decisions, but as far as just the sport, I think it’s a great sport that provides so many opportunities for so many people and I’m glad to be a part of it. I try to do everything I can every day to try to focus on doing the right things here at Clemson. Hopefully, we can continue to develop our guys on and off the field and help create opportunities in life through their experience here.”

Swinney continued to say that, without naming programs, he knows of situations where winning football games becomes more important than building up young men to be productive members of society — which is the opposite of the way he wants his program to operate.

“I’ve known of situations where they don’t really love the guys — it’s more the love of winning,” he said. “Ever since I’ve had this job, I’ve just focused on — I mean, I want to win as bad as anyone, but I’d rather lose trying to do it right than win knowing that you didn’t. That’s the way I’ve built the program, the philosophy that I’ve had here and I just want to love our players. It’s always going to be some setbacks and things like that.

“But for us, I just want to make sure that these guys have the opportunity to go be successful when the air goes out of the ball and that’s how we’ve done everything in our program.”

Same goals as always for the Tigers

With nearly every major publication calling for the Tigers to make a sixth straight appearance in the College Football Playoff, and more than a few calling for the Tigers to win the national title this season, one might think that the expectations around the Clemson program would have changed to “win a national title or bust.”

But even with the uncanny success the Tigers have experienced over the last four years, Swinney is not changing his team’s goals.

“We have our goals are the exact same as 2009 when I got the job, and those haven’t changed,” Swinney said. “I set those goals up to allow us to compete at the highest level, and I felt like eventually we would build a program that would be able to do that. They haven’t changed. We want to win the opener, win our division, win the state championship, we want to win the ACC and we want to win the closer. So, that is really what we focus on and whatever comes after that we can live with it.

“We know that if we win our division and have a chance to play for this league then you have bigger opportunities. There’s nothing in our building that says, ‘Win the national championship.’"