Dabo Swinney Doesn't Think Ohio State Should Make the Playoff, Believes Clemson Should Be in Even With Two Losses

By Kevin Harrish on December 11, 2020 at 11:09 am

Dabo Swinney does not think the Buckeyes should make the playoff.

In an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, the Clemson head coach held back no opinions about which teams he felt were deserving of a spot in the College Football Playoff, and Ohio State is not one of them, based on his criteria.

To nobody's surprise, Swinney thinks his Tigers should be in the playoff field over the Buckeyes even if they suffer a second loss to Notre Dame in the ACC championship game because Ohio State has played only six games and Clemson will finish with 11.

Here are Dabo's full comments from the show:

"Obviously, that's a tough question to answer in my position because we feel like we're definitely one of the best four teams in the country and there's nothing that's going to happen in that game next week for Clemson or Notre Dame that's going to change that in my opinion. And that's based on data. It's almost like you've got to have 120 hours to get a business degree and yet these people over here only need 60 hours to get a business degree.

"I think any time you step in between the lines, the game of football, there's a lot that can happen — a lot. I mean, heck, in 2017, we lost to a three-win or four-win Syracuse team and still went to the Playoffs. So anything can happen. Guys can get hurt. There's a lot. So I think the fact that we're going to have 11 games as well as the SEC teams – I mean, you look at Florida and Texas A&M and Alabama. I mean, these teams are going to have 11 games this year. It's incredible

"And I think the Big Ten had the same opportunity and they chose not to play, and I think the only reason they ended up playing is because of the leadership of the SEC and the ACC and the Big 12, and have demonstrated that we can do it and do it in a safe way. So it's been an unbelievably challenging season, that's for sure, but I think that the committee's going to have some tough, tough, tough questions to answer and things like that, regardless of what they do.

"Obviously, as coaches, we don't control any of that stuff. So I do think that our team has played incredibly well. We had a double-overtime loss at the No. 2 team in the country now in Notre Dame, who's a great team and an unbelievable game. Again, no matter what happens for Notre Dame or Clemson, nothing changes in my mind, as far as both of these teams being in the top four."

Swinney doesn't just favor Clemson's playoff resume over Ohio State's, however. He also believes the two SEC teams in the top-six – Florida and Texas A&M – are more deserving of a playoff spot than the Buckeyes.

"I wouldn't have an issue with it because, again, it's not my position to have an issue with it. My position is to coach my team, regardless of whoever. I just think there has to be some type of standard. If I was on the committee, it would be hard for me to leave out a 10-1 Texas A&M or an 11-game Florida team over a team that's played six games. That would be hard for me if I was on a committee, but I'm not on the committee. So it doesn't really matter.

"It doesn't mean they're not a great team and couldn't win the whole thing. I just think that there has to be — I just think, from a big-picture standpoint, I would lean toward rewarding the teams that have been all in because it's been an incredible challenge."

Of course, in Swinney's ideal reality, this would put two ACC teams and two SEC teams in the College Football Playoff with the possibility that half the field entered the playoff coming off of a loss.

As it stands, Ohio State is the No. 4 team in the College Football Playoff rankings with an undefeated 5-0 record. The Buckeyes have an opportunity to improve to 6-0 with a win over Northwestern in the Dec. 19 Big Ten Championship game.

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