Once the beloved favorite son of Alabama, Dabo Swinney’s relationship with the Crimson Tide has gotten complicated in recent seasons.
It started with Clemson’s College Football Playoff National Championship win following the end of the 2016 season, the signing of top Alabama prospect in the 2018 recruiting cycle, receiver Justyn Ross, and the Tigers’ second win over Alabama in the latest College Football Playoff title game last season. Following those events, where the Crimson Tide would have likely prevailed in each scenario if not for Swinney’s Clemson program, some Alabama fans may no longer be in the coach’s favor.
Of course, if he were to one day switch sides, things would probably change in a hurry.
For the time being, Swinney and Alabama are rivals on and off the field and according to David Hood of TigerNet.com, the Clemson coach jokingly revealed during a radio interview with SiriusXM that he can feel the tension rising when he returns to his home state to recruit. Although his way of explaining it was interesting:
“I think it was all fun and games early on. It was ‘Aww, isn’t that sweet?’ and all that stuff. I don’t know about walls, but I am kinda like Osama Bin Dabo,” Swinney said with a laugh. “I have to navigate my way through the caves and back channels to make my way through Alabama these days. They aren’t as happy to see me. But it’s all good. It’s a good problem.”
Whatever Swinney is doing, it’s clearly working but that “Osama Bin Dabo” line is a head-scratcher. South Carolina and Georiga fans have already jumped at the chance to poke fun of that this week and there’s no doubt we can expect to see some creative College GameDay signs in the fall as a result of those comments.
Swinney then went into further detail when it comes to his evolving relationship with the Crimson Tide:
“It’s almost like you are playing your brother or your cousin. Even though you are brothers, and they blow the whistle, you want to compete and you want to win,” Swinney said. “But when it’s over you hate you lost you are like, ‘Crap, I lost. But at least it’s to my brother.’ I think they’ve made me a stepbrother now. But I am still in the family.”
It should be noted that at this point in his life, Swinney has now spent more time in Clemson than he ever did in Tuscaloosa. That isn’t likely going to stop the Crimson Tide from approaching the coach whenever Nick Saban decides to call it a career but if the rivalry between Clemson and Alabama continues to grow and potentially turn hostile, there’s a chance many Tide fans may not want Swinney back when the time goes to make that call.
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