Kirk Herbstreit not siding with Dabo Swinney on Ohio State takes
By now, you’re probably familiar with Dabo Swinney’s take on Ohio State. The Clemson head coach ranked the Buckeyes No. 11 in his coaches poll ballot, saying he doesn’t think a 6-0 team deserves the chance to play in the College Football Playoff when other teams have played between 10 and 13 games in 2020.
Swinney not only believes that other teams have better resumes, but he also thinks the limited number of games puts Ohio State in a better situation in terms of wear and tear. But ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit doesn’t agree with those takes.
“Six games in. People can talk about what an advantage it is for Ohio State to only play six games,” Herbstreit said on ESPN’s CFB Podcast. “If you watch them, I look at it completely opposite. I think it’s a disadvantage because they don’t know who they are yet. You get to play 11 or 12 games, and as a defense you can gel together. … Ohio State comes into a semifinal game against Clemson and Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne and about the only thing they really know is their inside defensive linemen are elite.
“The question is the secondary. Will Ohio State play better? They’ll have to, to compete. Or will they get exposed and give up over 350-400 yards passing to Trevor Lawrence? … If they play at the level they’ve played all year they will not stop Clemson’s offense.” “Dabo, to his credit, he’s sticking to his guns on principle. It’s not like he’s evaluating Ohio State and their tape and saying ‘I think they’re the 11th best team in the country.’ This is strictly on principle.”
Herbstreit also brought up the point that Swinney would have likely thought his team deserved a spot in the Playoff if Clemson had played just six games this season and Ohio State was the one to play double the number.
“If Dabo and his team had played just six games this year and Ohio State had played 11 where would he put Clemson? Would he put them on principle at 11? Part of me thinks he would, part of me thinks he would look at that on principle and say they should be 11. Now they would probably still get the benefit of the doubt the way Ohio State did. When he has conviction about a topic he’s not gonna bend.”
Ohio State and Clemson go head to head on New Year’s Day in the Sugar Bowl, with kickoff set for 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.