Winning in the ACC has Built the Tigers for the Playoff

Zach Lentz

CLEMSON— For Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, the last five seasons have been incredibly special.

Not because the Tigers have been able to reach the playoffs for five straight years or because they won the school’s third national championship last year, but because of the four ACC titles they have won.

“That’s what it's all about. If we can compete for this league, then we have a chance to do bigger and better things,” Swinney said. “So, you know, this is important. When I got the job, that was when I said, 'We got to compete in the league. We'll become great from the inside out. We got to learn how to compete in practice. We got to learn how to think. Got to create this attitude of belief. I got to get other people to believe in what we're doing. We got to become a consistent team in our league, then we'll blossom from there.'”

While many around the country may look at the ACC as the ugly duckling of the Power 5 conferences, for Swinney, the Tigers ability to win the league has made everything possible.

“To get back here again in '15, '16, '17, now '18, this is what we set out to do every single year,” Swinney said. “We keep our goals simple. We want to win the opener, want to win our division, win our state championship, win this league, win the closer. Those allow us to compete at the highest level.

“If you can't win this league, or compete consistently for the league, you're never going to be the type of program that you want. So for us, it's everything. I mean, this leads to bigger and better things. We've been able to be really consistent in our conference play.”