Back then expectations were low.
Back then, no one could imagine consecutive 11 win seasons and victories over Auburn (twice), Georgia, LSU and Ohio State.
No one could imagine giving up 70 to West Virginia, getting blasted at home by Florida State and losing 5 straight to South Carolina either.
By and large Swinney has won the games he’s been expected to win (yes there are a couple of exceptions, but by and large).
In ACC games against teams north of Clemson (North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke, Wake Forest, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Boston College) Swinney is 28-4 (.875).
Not so much with teams south (Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami) of Clemson as the Tigers are 6-9 (.400) under Swinney.
Dabo’s a respectable 6-6 against the SEC with several impressive wins, but that’s overshadowed by a 1-5 record against South Carolina.
In some ways, Dabo’s a victim of his own success, something fairly typical in college football and life in general for that matter.
Let’s pretend it’s August, 2011, you’re coming off a 6-7 season and you were asked, “If you can go 32-8, win an Orange Bowl and an ACC title in the next 3 years would you take it, no questions asked?” My guess is a very high percentage of Clemson fans would have jumped at it, probably because it sounded so good after the mediocre Bowden decade and roller coaster beginning of Dabo’s tenure.
Now? That’s not good enough. Hey, you gave up 70 in an Orange Bowl, got blown out by Florida State at home in the biggest game in the last 3 decades and lost 5 straight to South Carolina.
College football is funny that way. Who you lose to and how you lose can be as important as winning.
Back to back 11-2 seasons is a good thing. Unless it’s not.