Dabo Swinney on Ranking Ohio State 11th: “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”

By Dan Hope on December 26, 2020 at 9:05 pm
Dabo Swinney
Josh Morgan – USA TODAY Sports

Dabo Swinney is doubling down on his opinion that Ohio State does not belong in the College Football Playoff.

In part of an interview with Tom Rinaldi that aired on ESPN's College Football Scoreboard on Saturday, Swinney – as he previously said before his team was selected to play Ohio State in next week's Sugar Bowl – said he believes the Buckeyes did not play enough games to rightfully earn their spot as the No. 3 seed in the CFP.

“Obviously, they're a great team. They're plenty good enough and talented enough to beat us and good enough to win the national championship. But 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 said, according to 247Sports' Garrett Stepien. “What universe am I living in? And it has nothing to do 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.

“In my opinion — Texas A&M, Florida, Oklahoma, Cincinnati — they got punished for playing more games.”

Asked about his decision to rank Ohio State 11th in the Coaches Poll – five spots lower than any other coach with a ballot – Swinney said he felt any team that played fewer than nine games did not belong in the top 10.

"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. It has nothing to do with Ohio State — absolutely zero. You can change the name to Michigan or Georgia or Florida or Tennessee or Nebraska. 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.”

While Swinney is standing firm in his opinion now that Ohio State should not be in the CFP after playing only six games, he has changed his tune from September, when the Big Ten initially announced that it would play a shorter regular season.

Despite Swinney's opinion, the CFP selection committee decided that Ohio State's six games were enough for the Buckeyes to earn the No. 3 seed in the playoff, and as a result, they'll play Clemson in the CFP semifinals on Friday (8 p.m., ESPN) in New Orleans.

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