Swinney Doubles Down on Start of Football Season

Zach Lentz

It should come as no surprise that his, sometimes, overly optimistic outlook on things has placed Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney at odds with some of the national media when it comes to his belief that college football will be played this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"My preference is let's get to work and let's go play," Swinney said in a Zoom teleconference with the media. "That's the best-case scenario and I think that's what's going to happen. I have zero doubt that we're going to be playing. The stands are going to be packed and the Valley is going to be rocking. I don't have any doubt. That's the only thought I have."

"I've got one plan, and that is to get the Tigers ready to play come late August," Swinney added. "This is America, man. We've stormed the beaches of Normandy. We've driven a car on Mars. We've walked the moon. We have the smartest people in the world. We are going to rise up and we're going to kick this thing right in the teeth and get back to our lives." 

 Swinney was a guest on ESPN's First Take Thursday morning, where he was given an opportunity to defend his controversial belief that football would be played in stadiums full of fans. And instead of walking back his comments, he doubled down on his belief that the college football season would be played on schedule and on time.

His reason for his confidence that the season will go off as planned — his faith.

"Just, just faith and hope. You know, I mean, a bit you have a choice you can be optimistic or pessimistic," Swinney said. "I've always lived my life with optimism and, you know, just believe in all the unbelievably smart people that we have in this entire world that are working on this thing. And I just think, I just, I just hope for the best and I believe in the best but But to answer your question is really just my faith. I think that God is bigger than this, and he's gonna be glorified and shine through this in a mighty way I think that, you know, he has the ability to stamp this thing out as quick as it rose up, and I just, I just, just what I believe. And, you know, if it doesn't work out that way then you adjust, but my plan is, is to you know be get back at it and hope for the best. 

"And I think sometimes people can be critical when you have that mindset, but that's how I've always lived my life, and that's never gonna change but the reason I have that optimism is because of 50 years of life. And because of my faith in Jesus, and our 2000 years ago this weekend, the world was in a crisis and I'm sure a lot of smart people didn't think that Jesus could come back to life. But he did. And this Sunday, we're gonna celebrate that. And I believe this fall. And this is way bigger than football, I believe this fall. We'll be back to our lives as well."

When pressed by Max Kellerman about what reasons, other than his faith, he had for his belief that football would be played this fall, Swinney again stated that, while the decision will ultimately be out of his hands, it is his faith that has him so confident.

"No, no, I mean, just my faith. This my hope my belief," Swinney said. "That's really what that's at the end of the day, you know, the, the leaders of universities the presidents, the commissioners, the medical experts, they're ultimately gonna make a decision on. If we play when we play when we start and my job is to have my team ready. And we'll certainly do that. But, but my mindset is to make sure that, you know, I have best case scenario, ready to go and it will adjust from there, but my optimism is simply from nothing else other than my faith."