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Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was on the defensive Saturday when he explained why he put Ohio State in 11th place in his final coaches’ poll, sparking criticism.
Swinney told ESPN he believed that there were four teams who got "punished" for playing more games. He had been adamant about teams who only played six games being barred from playing in the College Football Playoff.
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"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," Swinney said on ESPN.
"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."
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"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."
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Clemson won the ACC championship and was awarded the No. 2 seed and will play Ohio State in the semifinal.
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