Clemson takes stage at ACC Media Day

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney gestures during an NCAA college football news conference at the...
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney gestures during an NCAA college football news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference media days in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, July 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)(Nell Redmond | AP)
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 4:50 PM EDT
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Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said the difference between D.J. Uiagalelei and his successful predecessors Trevor Lawrence and Deshaun Watson is that Uiagalelei hasn’t gotten the support from those around him.

Uiagalelei received heavy criticism last year for the Tigers’ falloff in offensive production, but Swinney threw his support behind him Wednesday.

“I got a lot of confidence in DJ,” Swinney said. “He’s got some scars on him, some shrapnel — and that’s going to serve him well. ... But you’ve got to go do it. And I believe he will do it.”


Commissioner Jim Phillips said the ACC is supportive of an expanded College Football Playoff, but added there “is more work to be done” before that comes to fruition.

In January, Phillips preached caution when it came to playoff expansion, citing concerns about athlete welfare, the impact on academics and the length of the season.

“The ACC took what we believe was a necessary stance regarding last fall’s CFP proposal,” Phillips said. “This was based on feeling we must all come together to address before rushing into a new model.”

But Phillips’ optimism comes after what he called “great meetings” with other conference commissioners in April and June. He said he is confident that the concerns of the ACC and others will be addressed and “a new model with great access will ultimately come to pass.”

Phillips said an expansion still might take some time.

“I don’t expect us in September when we get together to line up and announce a new CFP structure,” Phillips said. “... I don’t know that there’s a separation now with those things. We’ll see, but I think the health and safety, the 365-day calendar review. I mean, we’ve talked about access, automatic qualifiers. There’s a lot of things to discuss.”


This will be the final season the ACC uses the two-division format.

Beginning in 2023, the league will go to one 14-team division and the teams with the top two winning percentages will advance to the annual conference championship game the first weekend of December in Charlotte.

That would seem to be an advantage to teams in the Atlantic Division that have had to compete for one spot with Clemson, which had won every ACC title since 2014 before being upended by Wake Forest last season.

“If you take the division votes every year, the Atlantic was for eliminating it, and the Coastal was for keeping it,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said.