CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney continues to get criticized by some in the national media.
After failing to reach the College Football Playoff for the first time in six years in 2021, some feel the Tigers time has come and gone in college football. They feel Swinney has lost his edge and the program will no longer be considered an elite program.
It is not shocking that one of those pundits is SEC Radio and Network host Paul Finebaum. The ESPN personality has consistently putdown Dabo Swinney’s Clemson program more than anyone else, and earlier this past week he took it a step further during an interview with Sporting News writer Bill Bender.
The veteran sportswriter released his list earlier this week on who he believes are the top coaches in college football heading into the 2022 season. Finebaum was appalled that Bender listed Dabo Swinney ahead of Georgia’s Kirby Smart in the poll.
Swinney is listed No. 2 behind Alabama’s Nick Saban, while Smart is listed No. 3.
Finebaum said Swinney is “yesterday’s news.”
“Are you telling me that Kirby Smart is inferior right now, even by one number, to Dabo Swinney, in spite of that championship,” Finebaum asked. “I don’t need to remind you, but look at the trajectory of the programs right now and where they are.”
Georgia is the defending national champions, while Clemson went 10-3 last year and saw its streak of six ACC Championships comes to an end.
However, Swinney has taken the Tigers to four national championship games and has won two of them. Smart has taken the Bulldogs twice to the title game with last year’s title in his back pocket.
Outside of Alabama, no team has shown more consistency or won more games than Clemson in the last 11 years. The Tigers have won 10-plus games for 11 consecutive seasons, one of only three programs that can make that claim in the history of college football.
But none of that impresses Finebaum, who truly has never given Dabo Swinney any respect as an elite head coach.
“We want somebody to take a chance and say, ‘You know what? Kirby Smart’s a better coach than Dabo Swinney,’ and I don’t care how many national championships he has,” Finebaum said. “I’m saying it right now. And I am saying it right now, just for the record.”
I guess we will find out if Finebaum is right or wrong in a few months.