Clemson coach Dabo Swinney made waves after the season wrapped up by ranking Ohio State No. 11 in his final Coaches Poll top 25 ballot. That, of course, set the stage for a wild Sugar Bowl week leading into the College Football Playoff semifinal between the No. 2 Tigers and No. 3 Buckeyes.
Swinney had the chance to discuss his ballot in-depth on Monday in his press conference heading into the Friday rematch of last year’s semifinal in the Fiesta Bowl. He didn’t disappoint.
“It’s a big deal because we are having to play them,” he said. “As I said earlier, there is no question Ohio State is good enough to beat us, any of us, to be a national champion. I didn’t rank anybody that didn’t play nine games or more in the top 10. That’s why they were 11. It had nothing to do — I mean I have all the respect in the world for Ohio State. I think the world of Ryan Day. They are a wonderful program. We recruit against them because I think we have a lot of similarities.”
He went on to explain the thought process behind his vote, and why this year’s discrepancy in the number of games played from conference-to-conference weighed heavily on his decision-making.
“I just don’t think it’s right that three teams have to play 13 games to be the champion and one team has to play eight,” he said. “People have a problem with that, I don’t really care. It’s my poll. I would also remind the Ohio State people I voted them in 2017 and left Alabama out, and they were good enough to win it. I just think Ohio State deserved it. I’m an equal opportunity guy. I think the games matter. I don’t think it’s right that Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Florida, Cincinnati got punished because they played more games. The game is not played on paper. To just say, ‘They would have won,’ I don’t think that’s right. People take it personal, but it’s nothing personal at all.”
Swinney has been outspoken on several topics in 2020, including his thoughts on COVID-19 testing and how it relates to games being canceled. In this case, he has no problem with his ballot being made public and making waves in the college football world.
“You don’t think I don’t know it won’t be made public? What’s right is right,” he said. “I could probably run for governor in Michigan and have a good chance. Not too popular in Ohio. I wasn’t going to change that to be politically correct and try to appease people.”
The 10-1 Tigers avenged their regular season loss to Notre Dame by beating the Irish 34-10 in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 19. That earned them a spot in the College Football Playoff for the sixth straight season. The Sugar Bowl matchup vs. the Buckeyes will be a rematch of the 29-23 thriller last season that earned Swinney’s crew a spot in the national championship game vs. LSU. This year’s edition of the budding rivalry will kickoff at 8 p.m. ET from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
#Clemson #coach #Dabo #Swinney #explains #ranked #Ohio #State #top #Coaches #Poll #ballot