Dabo Swinney Claps Back About Criticism Of Clemson, Trevor Lawrence, Says ACC 'Never Gets The Credit'

Dabo Swinney
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney responds to recent criticism Streeter Lecka/Getty

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney had some harsh words for how his team, its quarterback and their conference are viewed in the college football world.

During a Tuesday press conference, Swinney used his time with the media to respond to criticism directed towards the team and defended both Clemson's quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

"Our league never gets the credit," Swinney said. "Our league doesn't get a lot of recognition for what's happened." The ACC, generally not considered a football power conference, is often ridiculed for its lack of prowess when compared to other football powerhouses like the Southeastern Conference (SEC), which features stalwarts like Alabama, LSU and Georgia.

Following his comments on the ACC, Swinney was asked why the perception of the Tigers and the ACC is not better across the nation. "I just think other programs get the benefit of the doubt, and for whatever reason, our league, certainly Clemson, we don't get the benefit of the doubt," he said.

Swinney's comments come after Clemson has seen lower than usual rankings by the College Football Playoff Committee (CFP) and in the AP Poll, despite the team being one of three remaining undefeated teams. The Tigers are looking to make a back-to-back National Championship run, but have been ranked third in both polls for the majority of the season. Some believe the ranking is due to Clemson's schedule, which does not feature a single ranked team this season outside of Virginia in the upcoming ACC Championship game on Saturday.

After the Tigers won the CFP National Championship last year, many people regarded Trevor Lawrence as one of the best quarterbacks in college football history. Despite leading his team to an undefeated start, Lawrence is not even in the top four choices for the Heisman trophy. Swinney responded to this by saying "if they thought he was good last year, he's so much better now than he was last year." Swinney added that "he [Lawrence] is twice the quarterback he was at the National Championship game when everybody was crowning him the king of football."

Swinney also stated that he believes Lawrence should be a Heisman finalist.

Finally, Swinney went on to address to recent criticism he received from ESPN's Paul Finebaum, who called him "the most annoying winner in all of sports" during an appearance on the network's Get Up.

"I mean the guy can't keep his trap shut," the ESPN analyst said. "Somebody give the man a pacifier, send him to timeout and we'll check in with him on December 28th when he finally plays a legitimate team during this entire college football season."

Asked if he saw Finebaum's comments, Swinney replied, "been in meetings. Hate I missed it. Sure it was riveting."

With a win in their conference title game, Clemson can finish their season with a 13-0 record and head to the College Football Playoff.