Used to the unfamiliar territory

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Dabo Swinney is used to dealing with high expectations. They come with the territory when you're at Clemson.

The Tigers' selection as the favorite to win the ACC in 2013 isn't unfamiliar territory for Swinney, even though it's the first time one of his teams has been voted as the preseason favorite.

"At Clemson, the expectations are high every year," Swinney said, during the ACC Football Kickoff. "Our fan base expects us to win the league every year for us."

He doesn't care if Clemson is the media's pick to win the conference, no offense to those that voted.

"It's so not even worth having a conversation about," Swinney said. "I know it's fun for people to make predictions, but all of that stuff -- all of that preseason stuff, as I tell our team -- is based on past performance. Come November, that's when it's based on reality and present performance, that's when it means something to me.

"Appreciate people having high expectations for us, but I can assure they're not any higher than what we have for ourselves."

As Swinney noted, it's not difficult to comprehend why Clemson would be picked by 102 voters to play in the ACC title game, and why 95 of those folks think they'll win it.

"You've got the ACC Player of the Year returning, a third-year starting quarterback, so that's kind of easy to see," he said. "But there's so much more than that, which goes into having a championship-type year."

And Swinney isn't necessarily convinced that his team is the best in the league, at least not yet. He'll wait a little while longer before he's ready to make that kind of a judgment.

"I know that we have a good team," Swinney said. "I think we have a lot of guys coming back that have proven to me that they can play winning football, and they've proven to me that they're committed, they've proven to me that they're serious about being good.

"I have no idea what everybody else has and all of that. Until you get going, you never really know, because every team is different. Who knows who's got Sammy Watkins showing up this year?"

Dabo Swinney respects Darius Robinson's decision to join the O'Bannon case.

Darius Robinson's decision

Swinney lettered in football at Alabama, so it's a fair question for him.

One reporter asked on Monday, ‘If you were a student-athlete now, would you be interested in joining that suit?'

The answer, "No, absolutely not.

"First of all, I have zero issue with anybody who wants to do that. That's what makes this world great. People believe in causes, and that's their right to fight for those causes, but I would absolutely not be apart of that.

"In fact, I wrote a speech in college on why college athletes should not be paid. I still believe that."

The lawsuit that Robinson is now apart of is the one Ed O'Bannon filed against the NCAA, EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company.

"That's his opinion. That's just something that he believes in…he wanted to be apart of that because it's something he believes in," Swinney said. "That's the way it ought to be."

A change to the scholarships, that's something that he would be in favor of doing -- right now.

"The scholarships haven't changed. They're exactly the same as I was in school," Swinney said. "Gas is higher. Movies, dates are more expensive. Clothes are more expensive, everything.

"The world has changed, but it hasn't been reflected in the scholarship, and I think that's wrong."

On the update to the targeting rule

Last week, Steve Shaw, the SEC's supervisor of officials said the NCAA's new addition to the targeting rule "is the most significant change I have seen in my career."

In a nutshell, "targeting" is when a defensive player uses his helmet or another part of his body to target a defenseless player in the head. Last season, it was good for a 15-yard penalty.

New to college football's targeting rule is the option for a referee to eject a defender who was flagged for the penalty.

"There's a lot of grey area in there. When you watch the teach tape, it really makes you say, ‘OK, how is that going to be officiated?' Now you're talking about throwing guys out," Swinney said. "That's the biggest concern."

He added, "They have a definition of it. I'm just curious to see how they're going to consistently interpret it."

ACC coordinator of officials Doug Rhoads believes that a certain hit by a certain South Carolina defensive end in January's Outback Bowl was an offense that would be worthy of an ejection.

"Yeah. I probably would have gone with that," Rhoads said. "In my judgment, yes." Top Stories