Paul Finebaum loves the Southeastern Conference. It’s no secret. The 63-year-old has made millions talking about the league on ESPN, primarily as a SEC Network host, and he is willing to defend it all cost. In many ways, that’s why the network pays him the big bucks.
With no college football games for the next few weeks, all we have for entertainment is a bunch of smack talk from players about what happened last year and how good they will be this season. That’s all fine and dandy, but Finebaum just ticked off the defending national champion Clemson Tigers.
Despite dubbing head coach Dabo Swinney’s team the No. 1 team in America right now, there’s now some beef after comments flew around at both SEC Media Days and ACC Media Days.
Here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know:
Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dylan Moses said the Georgia Bulldogs are the toughest team the Tide played last season, not Clemson, which dominated them in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in January.
In turn, Clemson offensive lineman John Simpson said the Notre Dame Fighting Irish — the team the Tigers played in the CFP semifinals — were the best team they played last year, not Alabama and head coach Nick Saban.
No comments are off limits in the social media era, but that one by Simpson is something Finebaum thinks is “one of the stupidest comments I have ever heard,” according to 247Sports.
“I’m not in the business of criticizing college players, but that is easily one of the stupidest comments I have ever heard. Alabama was a phenomenal football team last year. Notre Dame was good, but they were not as good as Alabama. Alabama would’ve destroyed Notre Dame, and what you get there in John Simpson’s comments is just the pettiness of a program that is unaccustomed to being at the epicenter of this sport.
“And Clemson has won two championships, and they deserve them. [Dabo Swinney] I think is a phenomenal coach. It’s a great program. But when faces of a program like that say stupid things like that, it’s demeaning to what the program has accomplished. And I’ve said this couple of times, I’m gonna say it again, Clemson just doesn’t know how to win yet. Maybe they will at some point, but not yet. And I hope that they can learn to deal with being No. 1 and being in the spotlight. Because so far, a lot of their comments and their behavior, both the last time two years ago and today, have been really embarrassing.”
— SEC Network Analyst Paul Finebaum, via 247Sports
Well, those comments didn’t set well with the Clemson players. Swinney hasn’t said anything yet, but Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence and guard John Simpson sure didn’t think very highly of Finebaum’s take.
Lawrence even called Finebaum “Unprofessional” on Twitter before deleting the post.
At the end of the day, all this really means is we need another NCAA national title game rematch between Clemson and Alabama to see who really is the top team in college football once again.
After all, who wouldn’t to see Heisman Trophy favorites Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence battle before they both take the NFL by storm in a couple of years?