I want to talk about Dabo Swinney, Clemson’s dominance and what's in store for the 2019 College Football Playoff and College Football Playoff National Championship Game. But first you have to look at who he is compared to in-state: That’d be former Texas Longhorns head coach-in-waiting and current South Carolina HBIC Will Muschamps. The Post-Courier reported Gamecocks equipment manager Aubrey Walker was fired recently after being charged with public disorderly conduct because Walker was tweaked by a fella dressing up as Muschamps for Halloween with an $18 million buyout check to complete the fit.
In the memo space, the word “BUYOUT” was writ large and signed “EVERY GAMECOCK FAN.”! The equipment guy, Walker, was pissed. So he made a fool of himself defending the honor of a man who would get $18.75 million if he was fired before Dec. 31. The Cocks of the Walk (of Shame) are 4-7 with a game to play against Clemson for the state title. That’s a game the Cocks are likely to lose to secure one of the worst seasons in two decades in Columbia.
Meanwhile, Dabo and little ol’ Clemson are in the midst of one of the best runs by a college football team—ever.
The high-key, highlighter orange Tigers have won 26-straight dating back to last season. That ain’t Bud Wilkinson and Oklahoma’s 47-straight, but the Death Valley Kitties have played like a squad who looks every bit like a group alley cats making a run at that streak with another year of Trevor Lawrence still to behold. Lawrence has been stupid good this season. Since Clemson’s Oct. 19 victory at Louisville when the Ronnie Bass doppelgänger threw two interceptions, Sunshine is 69-of-89 passing with zero picks and 13 touchdowns. He has earned a passer efficiency rating of 200 or better six times in his career and three of the six have come in the last month.
Running back Travis Etienne has rushed for 1,335 yards on just 153 carries. His 8.7 yards per rush is nearly two yards ahead of the No. 2 player in the country in average yardage per rush—Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins at 7.04. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables’ defense has been meaner than anything to come out of the Eastern State Timberwolves program. Clemson’s gives up just 10.7 per game.
Last week, Clemson held Store Brand Cam Newton and a Wake Forest offense that had averaged 449.1 per game to just 105 yards and 2 of 13 on third down. ESPN’s Bill Connelly found Clemson’s “opponents are completing only 47% of their passes, 41% on passes thrown beyond the line of scrimmage.” Nickel safety/linebacker/actual alien Isaiah Simmons has accumulated 12.5 tackles for loss and six sacks in 11 games. Only Ohio State has played better football to this point than Clemson. The Buckeyes have wrecked every top 40 team in the SP+ they’ve faced by an average of 34.5 points.
But if you really want to give Clemson credit, and I do, obviously, Swinney has done nothing short of turn Clemson into college football’s Voltron—defender of the universe, a mighty robot, loved by good, hated my evil. And Dabo is its Shiro paternal Paladin piloting the black Bayard lion.
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RJ Young is the host of The RJ Young Show on The Sports Animal from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. CT weekdays. His book LET IT BANG was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2018. He was featured in Natural Light's 2019 Super Bowl commercial. He graduated with a master's in professional writing from the University of Oklahoma. He doesn't like it when his socks get wet.
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How Trevor Lawrence Dabo Swinney And Clemson Are Poised To Wreck 2019 CFBPlayoff again
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