Cubelic: Can't Pretend There Are Three Coaches That Could Do What Dabo Did

Was Clemson a sleeping giant? Perhaps, Cole Cubelic said, but Dabo Swinney has made it what it is today: the best program in America

The DA Show
January 08, 2019 - 12:07 pm

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Clemson and Alabama have met four times over the last four seasons, with each program winning two games. But after Clemson annihilated Alabama, 44-16, to win the national championship Monday, have the Tigers surpassed the Tide as the top program in America?

“I think right now you have to say that they are because of what they did and how they did it,” SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic said on The DA Show. “That could have been worse last night. Let’s not pretend like Clemson tacked on two scores in the last four minutes of the game to make this ugly. This thing was ugly in the first quarter.

“So right now, yeah, I think you have to feel that way,” Cubelic continued. “Make no mistake: Alabama made mistakes. Clemson was going to need Alabama to make mistakes to win that game going in, but if Alabama doesn’t make those mistakes, Clemson probably still wins that game. They out-executed and out-coached Alabama. Alabama still has more talent, but I think Clemson is a better team – and they proved last night that they’re a better team. And I think they proved last night they have a better coaching staff.”

That starts with Dabo Swinney, who won his second national title in three seasons. That begs the question: Was Clemson a sleeping giant when Swinney became head coach in 2009, or has Swinney done something at Clemson that no one else could have done?

“I think there are a couple of sleeping giants in college football,” Cubelic said. “Clemson, you have to give credit to the administration for stepping up and giving him everything that he’s needed to make it what it is, but I’m not going to sit here and even pretend that there’s 10 or 15 or five or even three other coaches that could have gone in there and done what he’s done. I’m not going to believe that. I’m just not.”

Swinney’s positive and upbeat approach, it is worth nothing, is vastly different than Nick Saban’s.

“Dabo does it very different than Urban Meyer and Nick Saban, even Jimbo Fisher,” Cubelic said. “He has a different aura, he has a different attitude, he has a different demeanor – he does it in a very different way. I don’t know if a Nick Saban approach or a Pete Carroll approach would have worked in Clemson, South Carolina. Was it a bit of a sleeping giant? Yes, but the administration got on board early. They’ve done everything like a big-boy program would do, but Dabo Swinney has done it his way – and his way has worked. I think he deserves the majority of the credit for being able to have the vision, the attitude, the wherewithal to go and make Clemson what it is today.”