In sports, on every level, coaches and players will tell you that they don't pay any attention to what the media says. Now for some, this is true, but it's not the case for most. Particularly in this day and age with so many different media outlets and various ways for people to share their thoughts and opinions on social media.
Whether they want you to know it or not, they hear it, and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney heard what Fox Sports' Colin Cowherd said about the Tigers at the end of November.
"Clemson's a fraud," Cowherd said on his Fox Sports radio show in November -- before Clemson had even played Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. "Clemson is going to get their ears boxed by whoever they play. They should have three losses, maybe four. I don't buy into Clemson. They're the New York Giants of college football. I don't care what their record is. I don't buy into them. And I had Clemson in the final four, so I should be rooting for them. I got no dog in the fight here. I think USC is the second-best team in the country and Vegas agrees."
Well, Dabo fired back on Monday night during his postgame press conference.
That's right. A national championship-winning coach took time during his celebration press conference to call out a radio host in a major way.
At the end of the day, we left no doubt tonight. We wanted to play Alabama because now y'all got to change your stories. You got to change the narrative. Y'all got to mix it up. The guy that called us a fraud? Ask Alabama if we're a fraud. Was the name Colin Cowherd? I don't know him, never met him. Ask Alabama if we're a fraud. Ask Ohio State if we're a fraud. Ask Oklahoma if we're a fraud.
The only fraud is that guy, because he didn't do his homework. I hope y'all print that.
Dabo was feeling himself!
Honestly, it's hard to blame Swinney for wanting to get that off his chest. It's one thing when somebody in the media is saying they don't think you're going to win a game or that you'll win your conference.
When they're calling you a fraud, though, that's a little different. That feels more personal, and for Dabo, he clearly took it that way.
But Cowherd was not the only subject of Swinney's verbal missiles. He also shot one across the bow to the Heisman Trophy voters for failing to recognize quarterback Deshaun Watson not once but twice.
He didn't lose out on the Heisman; the Heisman lost out on him. They lost out on an opportunity to be attached to this guy forever. But this guy, his class, his humility, this was his Heisman tonight, and this was really what he wanted. This is what he came to Clemson to do.
Get yours, Dabo.