Dabo Swinney speaks to reporters on Dec. 1, 2011. (Image: TigerNet.com)
Clemson, SC (WLTX) - You can add this to the ongoing narrative of the bitter story between South Carolina and Clemson: a rant by Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney. But it appears it all came out of a misunderstanding.
Thursday night after Clemson's practice to prepare for the ACC Title game, Swinney was asked by a reporter about a quote attributed to Spurrier. The quote (and we're paraphrasing here) was that South Carolina wasn't LSU or Alabama, but they weren't Clemson.
Implied was that LSU and Alabama were perhaps superior this year, but Clemson wasn't.
What followed was a diatribe where Swinney seemed to get more worked up as he spoke, taking pointed jabs at Spurrier, the USC program, and declaring that *the* program in the state "will always be Clemson."
But here's the thing: it doesn't appear Spurrier himself ever said the quote in question. But others sure made it seem as if the Head Ball Coach did.
Radio station 107.5 The Game tweeted out Thursday a portion of their broadcast following USC's victory over Clemson last Saturday. In the excerpt, USC play-by-play announcer Todd Ellis said, "as Coach Spurrier says, we may not be LSU or Alabama, but we ain't Clemson folks."
Spurrier did say earlier that this year's team wasn't perhaps on the level of LSU or Alabama, but there's no record of him adding the "Clemson" portion.
Another item which may have caused confusion was a tweet sent from the @GamecockFB twitter account, which directly attributed the quote to Spurrier.
"We aren't LSU, and we aren't Alabama, but we sure ain't Clemson--Steve Spurrier" the account wrote on November 27th.
Thursday night, the @GamecockFB account clarified the posting by saying Spurrier has never compared the Gamecocks to Clemson, and referred people to audio of Ellis's remark.
Ironically, Spurrier did, in fact, say this quote following the game: "To beat your rival, hating them is not the answer." His point? That being angry at your opponent never defeats them, only playing football the right way does.
Below is the full text of Swinney's comments. The video is at the top of this article, courtesy of www.TigerNet.com.
"It's kind of crazy. It's sad that I get asked that on a Thursday before a championship game. Y'know...I heard that. That's the kind of thing that gets back to you. And I don't know if he really said that or not. I guess he did. There's been no rebuttal. But if said that it's disappointing to be honest with you. Because I was taught to win or lose with class. That's kind of a childish thing to put out there, to be honest with you.
"I think that our program here speaks for itself. We're...I guess I'd have to say I agree with him, to be honest with you. If I had to say anything. I guess if I had to respond I'd say he's right. They're not Clemson. They're never going to be Clemson to be honest with you. And you know what? No three-game winning streak is going to change that.
"It's not the first time they've won three in a row and it won't be the last time. It might be 50 more years. It'll probably happen again. You know I've gone out of my way to be complementary to them and complimentary to Coach Spurrier. I've got a lot of respect but I"m going to defend my program. I'm going to defend my players, my coaches, and I'm going to defend Clemson University because I believe in them. Y'know I just think that ...I think he's exactly right. I think that they're not Clemson, and again they never will be.
"You're looking at the best era in the history of South Carolina football right now. They just had their second 10 win season, they won a championship in 1969 [ACC Title]...2010 SEC East. And this rivalry? There's a lot of rivalries out there. This is more of a domination. And that's a fact. My kids grandkids won't ever live long enough to ever see this become a rivalry. It is what it is.
"Again I got respect for their program. South Carolina's not Clemson. A lot of differences. This is a place that's won a national title, 17 conference titles, 2 division titles. Heck, we've won more bowl games than they've ever even been to. I think our program's got a 100 plus more wins than South Carolina. That's reality. That's the best era they've had in 115 years of South Carolina football is right now. And they've done a great job. A great job. And they've whipped our butts the last three years. it's my job to change that.
"Coach Spurrier's been there seven years. And after five years I think he had 35 wins. A new contract and all that kind of stuff. Y'know after five years at Clemson, if I've only got 35 wins there's going to be a new coach here. And you know what there should be because there's a different standard. So, he's exactly right. They ain't Alabama, they ain't LSU and they're certainly not Clemson. That's why Carolina's in Chapel Hill and USC's in California and the University in this state always has been always will be..Clemson. And it's right here in Clemson, South Carolina.
"So..you can print that, tweet that, whatever. But again it's ridiculous that I'm getting asked that on a Thursday before a championship game But I'm proud of who we are. I know we are at Clemson. And I know where we're going. I guess my response is he's right. He's exactly right."