Dabo Swinney’s now-infamous ranking of Ohio State on his final Coaches Poll ballot was a major story even before the Buckeyes blew out Clemson in the Sugar Bowl.
Swinney put OSU at No. 11, arguing that because they had only played six games, they didn’t merit a top 10 ranking. Of course, this argument didn’t hold up when going by sheer talent.
Swinney did say the Buckeyes had the capability of beating his team, and that’s just what they did, routing Clemson before falling to Alabama in the national championship game. Today, Swinney was given an opportunity to backtrack on his decision to rank Ohio State where he did.
Instead, he reaffirmed that his vote wasn’t meant to be a slap in the face.
#Clemson coach Dabo Swinney talking again about his final Coaches Poll. Reiterates his vote wasn't about Ohio State. "Ohio State fought as hard as anybody to play. It wasn't their fault." Swinney said he didn't consider any team that played less than nine games for his Top 10.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) January 13, 2021
Was Dabo’s logic here foolish? Probably. Did Ohio State use the perceived slight as motivation? Most likely.
At the end of the day though, this controversy dissipated fast. You can bet it will be brought back up though if the Tigers and Buckeyes meet in the College Football Playoff for a third-straight year in 2021.