CLEMSON — Apparently there is a war of ideas surrounding the dominance of the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and the rest of the college football world.
In October of this year, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney made the statement that it was Alabama on the No. 1 bus and everyone else in college football following behind.
“The reality of it is, back when I was a player, we kind of had the big-time bus and then the R.O.Y. bus – the Rest of Y’all. It is kind of Alabama and the rest of Y’all,” Swinney said. “We are just kind of glad to be on the R.O.Y bus right now and to still have a chance.”
The head coach of the Crimson Tide, Nick Saban, quickly squashed that notion when asked if he felt it truly was Alabama and everyone else.
“Well, I think Clemson has got an outstanding program, an outstanding team,” Saban said. “I think Dabo does a really, really good job on a consistent basis. They have good players, but their players really play well. They’re well-coached. They don’t make a lot of mistakes. They execute well. It’s a difficult preparation when you have to play against them. And I think they’ve been one of the most consistent, dominant teams throughout this entire season.”
Even though this is the Tigers’ fourth trip to the College Football Playoff, some around the nation have dubbed this year’s playoff the Alabama Invitational due to the Tide’s dominance throughout the season.
While that phrase had not reached the ears of Swinney, he did reiterate the fact that his belief is that, in spite of what Saban said, it really is Alabama and everyone else.
“I definitely think it’s Alabama and the rest of y’all, which we’re a part of that. So I still think we’re on the R.O.Y. bus — we’re driving though. We’re in the front seat of the R.O.Y. bus, but I think it’s definitely the rest of us and then Alabama. They’ve been unbelievable.”
Beyond the Alabama Invitational, the playoffs could almost as easily be named the Clemson Invitational. The Crimson Tide have made only one more trip to the playoff and boast only one more national title than the Tigers have in the five years of the CFP.
However, while many around the nation are preparing for the fourth installment of the Alabama-Clemson rivalry, Swinney is hesitant to say they have reached that status yet.
Somebody asked me the other day if they are becoming our rival and I’m like, ‘Well, you gotta win a few times before it can really become a rivalry I think,’” Swinney said. “They have been unbelievably dominant. It’s incredible what they have done the last 10 years and the championships they have won. They’re a tough out for anybody.”
The good news for the teams riding the buses behind the Crimson Tide is they will all have their chance to unseat them as the dominant team and raise their flag as the best team in college football.
And that is all Swinney wants.
“Like I said, they’re on bus one, two and three and the rest of y’all are on bus four just hoping that we can get it done,” Swinney said. “We’ve got one goal left (to win the final game), and if we hit that one, it’s going to have been a good year — that’s for sure.”