Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is a former Alabama player and graduate who won a national championship with the Crimson Tide, but that’s not stopping him from choosing against them when it plays a key ACC foe this season.
Swinney said Thursday at ACC Media Days in Charlotte that he wanted Florida State to beat Alabama in the teams’ season opener at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sept. 2.
“I’m pulling for the Noles,” Swinney said.
— Ryan S. Clark (@ryan_s_clark) July 13, 2017
Dabo Swinney on if he's pulling for his alma mater Alabama or conference foe FSU in the opener "I'm pulling for the Noles."
— Matt Connolly (@MattatTheState) July 13, 2017
Florida State is one of Clemson’s biggest rivals and arguably its top challenger for the ACC title. Both schools play in the ACC’s Atlantic division.
Alabama was who Clemson beat in last season’s national championship after falling to the Crimson Tide one season earlier in the same game.
Both Alabama and Florida State are predicted to be ranked either No. 1 or 2 in their meeting, which is expected to be one of the most important regular-season games this season.
Despite his pick, Swinney, a Pelham, Alabama native, has expressed an admiration for Alabama and Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban in the past since becoming Clemson coach. He also is thought to be a potential successor to Saban when his time as Alabama coach ends.
Alabama and Florida State will kick off at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. The meeting is one of two Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games this season.
Clemson will host the Seminoles on Nov. 11.
(You can follow Kevin Connell on Twitter @_KevinConnell)
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