It must be college football season. Paul Finebaum is taking jabs at Clemson coach Dabo Swinney.
Finebaum, ESPN commentator and host of “The Paul Finebaum Show” on the SEC Network, regularly lets it be known that he’s not a big fan of Swinney. Finebaum issued another reminder on his show Tuesday, when he called Swinney “yesterday’s news.”
Bill Bender from the Sporting News was invited on to discuss his ranking of college football coaches for 2022. Bender had Alabama’s Nick Saban first, Swinney second and Kirby Smart of national champion Georgia third.
“I promised myself I wouldn’t do this, but I’m going to,” Finebaum told Bender. “Are you telling me that Kirby Smart is inferior right now, even by one number, to Dabo Swinney in spite of that championship? I don’t need to remind you, but look at the trajectory of the programs right now and where they are.
“… I think Dabo Swinney is yesterday’s news. Kirby Smart is where it’s at in college football today.”
Clemson lost to Georgia, 10-7, in last season’s opener but went on to win 10 games, including the Cheez-It Bowl against Iowa State. It was the 11th consecutive double-digit victory season for the Tigers, who won national titles in 2016 and 2018. They managed 10 wins this time with an offense that was the ACC’s worst in passing efficiency and a lead running back who missed three games because of injury.
Smart, in his sixth season, led Georgia to its first national championship since 1980.
“We want somebody to take a chance and say, ‘You know what? Kirby Smart’s a better coach than Dabo Swinney,’ ” Finebaum said. “And I don’t care how many national championships he has. I’m saying it right now. And I’m saying it right now just for the record.”
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Finebaum took some swings at Swinney last September after Clemson lost to N.C. State in two overtimes and fell to 2-2.
“Dabo Swinney, for all his charm, is a pretty lousy loser,” Finebaum said then. “Nobody wants to hear his whine, nobody wants to hear him say whatever he says. He’s a good winner – well, he’s not even a good winner. But he’s a terrible loser.
“… I think the real question that has to be asked now is where does this Clemson program go? And I’m not suggesting that the dynasty of the last six years is over, but if you’re a 17-year-old making a commitment and you’ve got all the usual suspects, that program just doesn’t look the same today.”
At the end of the 2019 regular season, Finebaum didn’t hold back, either.
“I think Dabo Swinney is the most annoying winner in all of sports,” Finebaum said. “I mean the guy just can’t keep his trap shut. Somebody just give the man a pacifier, send him to timeout, and we’ll check in with him on Dec. 28 (national semifinal), when he finally plays a legitimate team during this entire college football season.”
Clemson went on to beat Ohio State and play against LSU in the national championship game.
Todd Shanesy covers Clemson athletics for the USA TODAY network.
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Dabo Swinney: Football coach at Clemson old news, Paul Finebaum says