Nick Saban is the greatest of all time, but Dabo Swinney is the best coach in college football right now.
Move over Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney is the new holder of the title of the best coach in college football.
Clemson-Alabama IV got all the hype, and rightfully so. college football’s two titans were destined to meet again in the National Championship, with the top two coaches once again going toe-to-toe. Many analysts anticipated a close game between the two, and most believed Alabama would reign supreme.
Few could have predicted a 44-16 Clemson drubbing. The Tigers dominated on both sides of the ball, with freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence ripping the Tide defense to shreds and the defense stopping Alabama’s offense with Tua Tagovailoa in its tracks.
After stopping Saban from winning his seventh national championship, one thing has become clear. Yes, Saban is still the best coach of all time, but right now, college football is Swinney’s world, and we are living in it.
Swinney built this program from the ground up after being named the interim coach after Terry Bowden was fired, fighting through ACC powers Florida State and Miami to reach the national stage. Now, the ACC runs through Clemson every season and they are in their own category altogether.
The next step was contending for a national title. The Tigers reached the National Championship in year two of the College Football Playoff and nearly pulled off the upset against the dominant Crimson Tide. They got things done the next year, beating Alabama on the second-to-last play of the game. Now, with two National Championships in the last three years, both wins over Alabama, it’s time to start thinking of Swinney on top as a fact.
While they may not be the top of the top when it comes to recruits (top 15 the past three years), Clemson still does very well. Clemson is Wide Receiver U, consistently turning out top prospects at the position. Their latest trio (Amari Rodgers, Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross) may be the best they’ve ever had. Also, getting No. 1 recruit, quarterback Trevor Lawrence really helped pushed them over the top this season, and will for a few more years to come.
Another big part of it is how Swinney coaches. He believes in his players and gets the best out of them. He loves them. He believes in them. He trusts them in big situations. After losing to Alabama 24-6 in the playoff semifinal last year, three of the Clemson defensive linemen (Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant) returned to school in order to have one more run at a championship. That speaks a lot to Swinney’s character and what he means to his players. The decision to return to school paid off with a national championship and countless memories they’ll never forget.
With another title under his belt, it’s not hard to believe that Clemson will be around for a long time. Swinney is the best in college football right now, and with a young offensive core and consistent recruiting, there’s no telling how many more national championships Swinney will win.