Dabo Swinney isn't backing down from ranking Ohio State No. 11 in his final Coaches' Poll top 25 ballot.
The Clemson Tigers head coach faced major scrutiny for ranking his College Football Playoff opponent several spots lower than everyone else. Swinney believes his ranking was fair, though.
Swinney appeared on ESPN this week and discussed his ranking.
During his appearance, Swinney named four teams that he believes were "punished" for playing more games than other teams (a.k.a Ohio State).
“First of all, my vote don’t mean anything. 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 for the Top 10. That’s why (the Buckeyes) were 11 (on Swinney’s Coaches Poll ballot)," Swinney said.
“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. 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. … In my opinion — Texas A&M, Florida, Oklahoma, Cincinnati — they got punished for playing more games.”
Ohio State now has more bulletin board material for New Year's Day.
Kickoff between the Buckeyes and the Tigers is set for 8 p.m. E.T. on ESPN.