Not backing down: Dabo Swinney explains why he ranked Ohio State No. 11 in final coaches poll
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is doubling down on his decision to rank Ohio State No. 11 in his final coaches poll.
Swinney said he took issue with Ohio State only playing six games during the regular season, while many other programs in the top 10 played several more times.
He said it has nothing to do with Clemson’s upcoming matchup with Ohio State in the Rose Bowl on New Years Day.
“In my opinion, I don’t think that it’s right that three teams have to play 13 games to win it all and one team has to play eight,” Swinney told Tom Rinaldi on College Football Scoreboard on Saturday night, via 247Sports. “What universe am I living in? And it has nothing to with them. It was about qualifying. And I didn’t think they were qualified, based on the number of games, versus all these other teams.
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“In my opinion — Texas A&M, Florida, Oklahoma, Cincinnati — they got punished for playing more games.”
While Ohio State did only play six games this season, much of that was out of the Buckeyes’ control. They missed multiple games due to COVID-19 outbreaks on opposing campuses and were hamstrung by the Big Ten’s decision to (temporarily) cancel the season in August.
Swinney also emphasized that his vote doesn’t have any impact on college football at large, but he still wanted to take pride in putting forth the teams that he felt deserved to earn a top 10 finish.
“First of all, my vote don’t mean anything,” Swinney said. “But it means something to me, you know? It’s my poll. I do it. It creates a stir because we just so happen to be playing Ohio State.
“Anytime you have a top-10 (ranking), it should be that special. This year it’s like really, really, really special and I wanted it to be that way. And so, I wanted to recognize the teams that played nine games or more. And so, if you didn’t play nine games, I just didn’t consider you from the top 10. That’s why they were 11.”
Ohio State and Clemson kick off at 8 p.m. ET on Jan. 1, 2021.