Dabo Swinney not bothered by Clemson practice issue

NEW ORLEANS -- Clemson coach Dabo Swinney dismissed any notion that his team had a practice disadvantage against LSU after it was forced to practice inside a hotel ballroom because of bad weather.

With wind and rain in New Orleans on Saturday, Clemson chose to hold its practice in the team hotel. LSU, meanwhile, practiced at the Saints' indoor practice facility. Naturally, photos of Clemson wearing practice gear inside its hotel went viral, with some fans questioning whether LSU got an advantage as the hometown team.

During the final coaches news conference Sunday, Swinney was asked about why his team practiced in a hotel while LSU got to use the "palatial Saints indoor facility."

"We might have had the best practice we had all year," Swinney said. "We had the same opportunity to go to the palatial Saints facility. It's just crazy how people put these narratives out there right away. We had the same exact opportunity to go there, but we were going to have to change our schedule and just didn't want to do that, and obviously the weather was nasty.

"This was a Thursday practice for us, and our Thursday practices are kind of jog-through anyway, and this was Practice 9, Day 10 in a row that we've been together, so it was even lighter than that. It was a lot of fun, it was great energy. Both these teams are ready to play. You can only practice so much. It was a great practice. It was a great day."

One of the biggest storylines leading into the LSU-Clemson College Football Playoff National Championship (8 p.m. ET Monday, ESPN/ESPN App) is how close the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is to LSU's campus in Baton Rouge, which is about 80 miles down Interstate 10. Both sides are expecting an LSU-heavy crowd, and Swinney was asked about that during media day Saturday.

Swinney pointed out the crowd in the Tigers' CFP semifinal against Ohio State was about 80-20 in favor of the Buckeyes.

"It's going to be like -- we could have just played in Baton Rouge," Swinney said. "It's going to be like a road game. I know our fans will show up and they'll be passionate just like they are everywhere we go on the road. But it'll be an awesome, awesome atmosphere. I mean, this is two great teams, two undefeated teams. Again, they're playing right here at home, and it's exciting. It's exciting to know you're at this point. It's been a lot of fun. But it's been -- it's nice to know that, hey, man, let's go let it all hang out and cut it loose.

"We've had a wonderful year. We've had an unbelievable decade, and I'm excited to finish strong Monday night and then set our eyes on what's next."