Clemson's Swinney has his team believing

Shortly after Clemson fell to South Florida 31-26 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl on New Year's Eve, losing for the fourth time in its last six games to finish 6-7 in 2010, Tigers coach Dabo Swinney gathered his players in the locker room of Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

"I'll fix it," Swinney told his players. "I'll fix it."

To fix the Tigers, who hadn't won an ACC championship since 1991, Swinney knew he'd have to do more than hire a new offensive coordinator, which he did, and more than simply injecting his team's roster with a highly ranked recruiting class, which he also did.

Swinney knew he'd also have to adjust the mentality around Clemson's program.

"I told our guys, 'If you're going to change Clemson, you've got to change it from the inside out and eventually it will blossom,'" Swinney said.

Swinney also shared one of his favorite quotes with his players: "If you'll do the common things in an uncommon way, you'll command the attention of the world."

Swinney must have also added a few ounces of Miracle Grow to his recipe for success, because it sure didn't take the Tigers long to turn things around.

The No. 13 Tigers defeated a nationally ranked opponent for the third game in a row on Saturday night, defeating No. 11 Virginia Tech 23-3 in front of a sold-out crowd of 66,233 fans. Clemson became the first ACC team to accomplish that feat and it also ended the Hokies' 12-game winning streak against ACC foes.

For more of Mark Schlabach's piece, click here.