If Dabo Swinney were to create a list of things not to do, #1 should be: Do not engage Steve Spurrier. Plenty of smart coaches have tried to match wits with South Carolina's cocky coach. Few have bested him. So the next time Clemson's coach is asked anything about his Palmetto State rival, the best answer would be: "Steve's a great guy. Next question."
Instead, Swinney took the bait at ACC Media Days in Greensboro yesterday. Asked about the two coaches' relationship, Swinney jokingly said:
"He's from Pluto, I'm from Mars... We’re different. I mean we’re different ages and all that stuff, the way we handle things and run our programs. But we’re similar too. Similar in our values. I have respect for him as a husband, as a father and the job he’s done is amazing… The thing I like is he is who he is and I don’t think he’s gonna change anytime soon."
There's nothing wrong with any of that. Aside from the Pluto/Mars thing which the press was guaranteed to ask Spurrier about... and they did. Going through the "ESPN car wash" of TV and radio shows today, the Ol' Ball Coach was told of Swinney's remark. He responded by saying that "Dabo still thinks there are nine planets out there."
It's good to know that Spurrier is aware of the fact that Pluto is no longer considered a planet. He is from a place called Science Hill, Tennessee, so it's fitting he'd be up on all things astronomy.
Spurrier also managed to redirect a familiar Swinney refrain -- Clemson is the first school from the state of South Carolina to win a BCS bowl. Spurrier's retort: "He's right. Although we beat them every year. We don't get to go. They do."
Someone tell Swinney that Spurrier is not a man to play The Dozens with.