Football

Dabo Swinney is no fan of Clemson playing on Friday

Clemson defensive linemen Christian Wilkins, left, and Clelin Ferrell celebrate a sack in the first quarter against Louisville last week. Wilkins will be playing in his home state for the first time at Boston College on Friday night.
Clemson defensive linemen Christian Wilkins, left, and Clelin Ferrell celebrate a sack in the first quarter against Louisville last week. Wilkins will be playing in his home state for the first time at Boston College on Friday night. mwalsh@thestate.com

Dabo Swinney has never won a regular-season game as a head coach on a Friday.

Of course, he’s never coached one at Clemson either.

If the veteran coach had an option, he’d keep it that way, but his No. 3 and undefeated Tigers (5-0, 2-0 ACC) are playing at Boston College (3-2, 0-2) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, a time typically reserved for high school football in the Swinney family.

“I don’t like it. I want to be watching my son on Fridays,” said Swinney, who traveled to New England on Thursday for the primetime ESPN game Friday. “I don’t like it. I don’t like the fact that it takes away from the high schools on Friday nights.”

Clemson’s coach won’t get to see Will Swinney catch passes this week, although D.W. Daniel did move its game to Thursday night, so the Swinney family will be attending the game in Chestnut Hill, Mass., on Friday.

“I don’t control it. (Clemson athletics director) Dan Radakovich doesn’t control it,” Swinney said. “Those are all TV contract stuff and I understand all that. I don’t fret about it or worry about it. We just do what we do. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.”

Clemson hasn’t played on a Friday in the regular season since 1956, and going to BC this season is a tradeoff of sorts for Clemson. The ACC likes to showcase its teams in primetime on Thursdays and Fridays.

The Tigers prefer not to host weekday games, according to Clemson spokesman Joe Galbraith, in order to keep high school football a priority in the community. To appease the ACC, which knows the Tigers are a hot commodity, and be good partners, Clemson had to agree to go on the road to avoid inconveniencing the Upstate.

It played at Georgia Tech on a Thursday two weeks ago, and is facing another short turnaround with Friday’s contest.

“Crazy schedule here the last couple of weeks, playing on a Thursday and playing on a Friday, but we’re excited about going to Boston,” Swinney said. “Another big challenge for us.”

It might not be ideal timing for Swinney, but he’s at least taking his team to a stadium that means a great deal to the head coach.

Swinney’s first career victory came in 2008 at Boston College when he was the interim coach after Tommy Bowden left midseason.

“We were going for win No. 1 (in 2008), and we’re going for win 81 now,” Swinney said.

The Tigers won 27-21 that day behind 242 all-purpose yards from former running back/returner C.J. Spiller.

“We had been through a lot that season,” said Swinney’s who’s 7-1 all-time against BC. “For them to get that win it meant a lot to a lot of people. It was an emotional ride home. I’ve always enjoyed going back to Boston.”

He’s not the only Tiger happy to be back in New England. Sophomore defensive lineman Christian Wilkins is playing his home state for the first time, and the versatile playmaker, who grew up wanting to play at BC, is looking to fill around 100 ticket requests from friends and family.

“It’s always been kind of a dream for me to play at Boston College, but I didn’t know it was going to be in a Clemson Tigers uniform,” Wilkins said. “So I really can’t wait for this game. Been looking forward to it all year.”

It could end up being a big game for Wilkins and the rest of the Clemson defense, which was on the field for 99 plays in an emotional 42-36 win over Louisville last Saturday.

BC ranks last in the ACC in total offense at 335.6 yards and scoring at 23.4 points per game.

Game info

Who: Clemson (5-0, 2-0 ACC) vs. Boston College (3-2, 0-2)

When: 7:32 p.m. Friday

Where: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill (44,500)

TV: ESPN (Adam Amin, Mack Brown, Molly McGrath)

Radio: 93.5 FM

Satellite radio: SiriusXM 84

Series record: Clemson leads 14-9-2

Line: Clemson by 17

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