College Sports

Why Clemson fans should be counting their blessings now more than ever

FILE - In this Dec. 2, 2017, file photo, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, center, congratulates his players during the second half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Miami, in Charlotte, N.C. The Tigers are pursuing their fourth straight Atlantic Coast Conference championship and have lost two league games in three seasons. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 2, 2017, file photo, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, center, congratulates his players during the second half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Miami, in Charlotte, N.C. The Tigers are pursuing their fourth straight Atlantic Coast Conference championship and have lost two league games in three seasons. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File) AP

I don’t champion myself a Clemson fan.

But I’m sure as heck a Dabo Swinney fan.

It seems every couple months there becomes more reason to like the Tigers head coach. Take this past week, for example. One of the best coaches in the country, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, found himself in hot water and now his job is hanging in the balance due to a lie (and possibly more lies to come out later) and perhaps a cover-up.

Yes, the man who leads a Buckeyes team that many believe has a shot to win it all this year is in limbo after originally saying he knew nothing of former assistant Zach Smith’s alleged domestic assault of his wife before changing course. He then said he’d reported it and operated under proper protocol.

It may be a couple weeks before we find out what’s true and what’s not, but it’s not a good look either way.

That gives even more reason for Clemson fans to be thankful to have Swinney in place. He’s a guy who seems to do all the right things while winning with a smile on his face. He’s no Urban Meyer, a man some people believe to be a fraud.

Meyer is hated by Florida fans despite winning two national titles there. Right now, he’s still loved by Buckeye fans who, led by Surfside Beach resident “Tennessee Jeff” Hamms, rallied at Ohio Stadium in his support Monday evening.

But what if he does ultimately get canned, especially during a season that was supposed to have so much promise? The hate would start seeping out of Columbus and all across the country (if it hasn’t already despite the fact we don’t know all the facts).

Clemson fans, aren’t you glad you’ve got a guy in place who seems unlikely to wind up in such a situation?

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David Wetzel, The Sun News sports columnist Josh Bell jbell@thesunnews.com

But there’s even more reason to praise Swinney at times like these. Think about the situation Alabama is in now, with a quarterback conundrum that has gotten out in the public. That’s not the type of situation the usually stone-faced Nick Saban allows to become a story; he usually does a great job of keeping things in house.

The Tigers have somewhat a similar situation right now, though. Incumbent quarterback Kelly Bryant has freshman phenom Trevor Lawrence on his heels, yet there doesn’t seem to be sour grapes going public.

“I just focus on Kelly, Kelly, Kelly. That’s it,” he told The (Columbia) State with a smile.

Sounds like a Dabo-like response, huh?

Now, before any of you start thinking that because I’m not a Clemson fan that I support South Carolina, stop. Like I’ve said before, I have no dog in that fight. Heck, I even have to admit I underestimated just how good Will Muschamp has proven to be.

That being said, he’s no Dabo Swinney. He doesn’t have the charisma, the national championship nor a program that’s a College Football Playoff perennial contender.

Nonetheless, times like these show just how important it is to value you what you have, and both squads have a good thing going.

But that’s an understatement for Clemson and its joyous coach. I’ll admit, I was originally skeptical of Swinney’s act, thinking it might not be completely genuine (it seemed he was just a little too joyous). However, over the years I’ve gained more and more respect for the guy and I believe he in fact is genuine in all he does.

That’s probably why some of the best players want to play for him.

So I say this: Clemson fans, make sure you take time to appreciate what you have as often as you can. As Ohio State’s situation - and other debacles in the past - has proven, the good times can go south in the blink of an eye.

David Wetzel: @MYBSports, 843-626-0295

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