Clemson Tigers 'could slide' to join SEC, says former Duke coach Steve Spurrier
July 14, 2022
College athletics is currently in the middle of a major restructuring following the departure of the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins to the Big Ten. According to former NFL quarterback and coach Steve Spurrier, the Clemson Tigers could soon join the party.
Spurrier said Clemson fit the SEC's criteria. He recalled his time coaching the Duke Blue Devils and explained that the Tigers looked like an SEC school playing in the ACC. While there is no information on whether the Tigers would make the move, the former Blue Devils insisted that the school could “slide right into” the new conference.
Clemson looks like SEC school, Spurrier says
Spurrier was one of the renowned faces of college football in the 80s. Before coaching schools, he played professionally in the NFL as a QB, spending the longest time with the San Francisco 49ers from 1967 to 1975.
He debuted his coaching career with the Florida Gators, training the school’s quarterbacks and wide receivers in 1978. He found his way to Duke in 1980–1982, working as the program’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks. Only in 1987 he was given the opportunity to lead the Blue Devils as their head coach for two years. His fame in college athletics began with the program that year.
“When I coached at Duke, Clemson was actually like an SEC school in the ACC. That was before FSU, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech (joined the ACC). When you played Clemson, they looked like SEC guys,” Spurrier said.
When asked about the SEC’s expansion plan and which program would likely join the conference, the 77-year-old said Clemson. Despite never having the chance to coach the Tigers, the retired coach was adamant with his answer. At his time, Clemson was a great rival to the South Carolina Gamecocks. He led the Gamecocks for ten years from 2005-2015. Meanwhile, the Tigers was coached by Dabo Swinney.
"Their defensive guys were a little bit bigger, a little bit faster," Spurrier added. "They just lined up and tried to smash you. That was their style of offense.”
Spurrier also argued that Clemson’s form in the 80s was memorable for having buffed defensive rosters charging up on the frontline. This eventually became a trademark of the Tigers, which the retired head coach believed to be a sign that the program was an SEC team playing in the ACC.
“They certainly could slide right into the SEC,” he continued.
Spurrier was right about the Tigers, as the program has been growing tremendously over the past decade, joining the elite college football club. In the past six years, Clemson won two national championship titles, one in 2016 and the other in 2018. In addition, the team also made six consecutive playoff appearances from 2015 to 2020, making them one of the ACC’s most competitive and ambitious teams.
Whether Clemson will part ways with the ACC remains to be seen. If it were to be the case, the school would provide more competition to Oklahoma and Texas in the SEC.