Dabo Swinney continued to stir up controversy when he doubled down on his earlier comments about Ohio State. The Clemson head coach ranked the Buckeyes 11th in his final Coaches' Poll and harped on the team's lack of games played.
In a clip of an interview with Tom Rinaldi that aired on ESPN's College Football Scoreboard, Swinney explained his reasoning once again. He maintained that more deserving teams were left out of the playoff, like Texas A&M or Oklahoma, simply because they played in more games.
ESPN analyst Joey Galloway warned Swinney that he might be playing with fire with his continued comments. The former star Buckeyes wide receiver said that Ohio State might see his words as a challenge.
"You know what, and that's what he meant — and the fact that they're playing Ohio State is why that's a big deal — but a lot of coaches, especially on Selection Sunday, when we talked to coaches on air, some of 'em mentioned, 'Hey, they only played six games,'" Galloway said on College Football Scoreboard, via 247Sports. "I understand it from a coaching standpoint, but it is so hard to win football games. You'll hear any coach say that. It doesn't matter who you're playing. It's the fact that you've got to get your team ready, go out there, play these football games — it's difficult to do. I like what he said about the fact that it didn't have anything to do with Ohio State, has everything to do with the amount of games, and that could've been anyone in that situation.
"Now, he has to be a little careful because he has to play against Ohio State and that's why this is a big deal. In this time, when a team like Ohio State is looking for the motivation in this game — as if they needed any — it just adds fuel to the fire for two teams that have played a number of times now, and it really does feel like a rivalry, especially the way the game played out last season. Ohio State will be fired up, and this will just add to it."
Well, at least Swinney meant it when he ranked Ohio State No. 11 the first time around. The Buckeyes will get a chance for payback on the field.
No. 2 Clemson (10-1) and No. 3 Ohio State (6-0) will play in the College Football Playoff semifinal game on Jan. 1. The AllState Sugar Bowl is set for an 8 p.m. ET kickoff on ESPN at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.