CLEMSON — The No.3 Clemson Tigers clinched their third consecutive ACC Atlantic Division on Saturday with a 31-14 victory over the Florida State Seminoles and have positioned themselves, at 9-1, for yet another trip to the College Football Playoff.
As exciting as those accomplishments are, there is something that has Tiger head coach Dabo Swinney thinking this could be another special season — the fact they have yet to play a complete game.
"Sometimes you get in the course of a game and you can get frustrated as a coach and you're like, 'Dadgummit,' Swinney said. “You just feel like you're not getting anything done, then you turn the tape on and you're like, 'Holy cow! We did a lot of good things.' And you just realize that's how critical a few plays are.”
“But when you step back, you're like, 'Wow, we did a lot of good things on both sides.' But yet, we have not played our best game and we still have a lot of room for improvement. I think that's exciting.
"I don't think that we're a team that's peaked. I think we're a team that's still coming into their own. Hopefully, as this focus gets narrowed a little bit, because this is really truly playoff football each and every week, we can take another step from an execution standpoint."
The Tigers held steady in one poll and moved up one spot in another after No. 1 Georgia and No. 3 Notre Dame lost Saturday.
Clemson remained at No. 4 spot in the Associated Press poll — being jumped by Oklahoma, which moved to No. 3 after defeating No. 5 Texas Christian Saturday, and Miami, which moved to No. 2 after defeating No. 3 Notre Dame.
Clemson moved up one spot to No. 3 in the coaches' poll behind No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Miami. Oklahoma moved to No. 5.
The Amway coaches' top 10: Alabama, Miami, Clemson, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Southern California.
The AP top 10: Alabama, Miami, Oklahoma, Clemson, Wisconsin, Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State.
The new College Football Playoff rankings will be released Tuesday at approximately 9 p.m (ESPN) during halftime of Champions Classic basketball games.
The Tigers were without starting defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and weakside linebacker Kendall Joseph against the Seminoles, along with cornerbacks Mark Fields and Marcus Edmond. They lost linebacker Tre Lamar and cornerback Ryan Carter during the game.
On Sunday, Swinney addressed the injury concerns of his Tiger team.
“Tre Lamar was getting an MRI on his shoulder today. I don't have any report back on that. We had a couple of guys get banged up. Ryan Carter was out. He was good in the locker room last night but he'll be in protocol this week.
“I get a report every morning. I don't have anything to do with who practices. If they're in yellow, they don't practice. That's all based on what our doctors think. Really pleased with how a lot of guys stepped up for us. Jabril (Robinson) was gimpy too. We were able to hold him and Dexter. We thought Kendall was going to be able to go, but he didn't quite feel good in warm-ups.”