Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney spent the first part of his Monday morning news conference explaining his decision to vote Ohio State 11th in his ballot.
The first two questions for Dabo Swinney in Monday’s Zoom news conference previewing the Sugar Bowl came from a reporter in Columbus, Ohio. It was an easy bet what the questions would center on and it isn’t Clemson’s blitz package.
To be fair, it is an interesting topic and one that has been generating plenty of buzz, especially on social media. Perhaps not since Steve Spurrier making it a tradition of voting Duke in his top 25 preseason poll has a ballot generated this much attention.
In last week’s coaches poll, Swinney’s ballot revealed he voted Ohio State 11th. The reason, Swinney has explained, was that other teams shouldn’t be punished for playing more games. Ohio State has only played six to the Tigers’ 11. The two teams will meet Friday night in the Sugar Bowl with the winner advancing to the national championship game.
Swinney’s response will no doubt bring down the temperature in the Buckeye State but once again, he did show that he has remained consistent in his belief that a team should not be able to win a national championship having played just eight games which everyone else has to play 13.
“People can perceive and take things however they want,” Swinney said.
“But for me, every year, I take (voting for the Coaches Poll) seriously, but especially this year. I just don’t think it’s right. It’s not that they’re not good enough – 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. So, people have a problem with that, I don’t really care. It’s my poll.”
Swinney says he admires the way OSU head coach Ryan Day runs his program and says the Buckeyes are more than capable of beating the Tigers. But he also says he’s not going to change his voting just to keep from stirring the pot.
“Again, it’s not that they’re not good enough,” Swinney said.
“They could beat us by two touchdowns. They’re plenty good enough to beat us. They’re good enough to win it all. I just had a problem with the fact that three teams have to play 13 games and one has to play eight, and I don’t care what the name is. Change the name – Ohio State, whoever, fill in the blank – Penn State, Michigan, Southern Cal. I don’t really care.
“That just was my standard that I’ve put in place, and I wasn’t going to change that because of being politically correct and trying to appease people. It is what it is.”