Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has 'no regrets' about voting Ohio State at No. 11

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra

NEW ORLEANS — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney maintained he had no second thoughts about leaving Ohio State at No. 11 on his final coaches’ poll ballot, a snub that ultimately served as additional motivation for the Buckeyes in their 49-28 win in the College Football Playoff semifinal.

“Polls have nothing to do with motivation,” Swinney said during his postgame news conference. “Both teams were highly motivated to play.”

But the perceived disrespect did rankle many of the Buckeyes’ players and coaches, who were eager to bring up Swinney’s vote in tweets following Friday night’s triumph.

About a thousand of the Ohio State fans in attendance also taunted the Tigers’ outspoken coach late in the game with chants of, “Daaaaabo! Daaaaabo! Daaaaabo!”

None of the other 60 head coaches who participate in the poll had Ohio State ranked lower, but Swinney said he only wanted to include teams that had played nine or more games in his top 10.

He believed those teams were more deserving due to managing a larger schedule of games during the regular season, while the Buckeyes had played in only six games prior to the playoff.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, left, and his longtime defensive coordinator Brent Venables sometimes found the Sugar Bowl loss to Ohio State hard to watch.

“As I said, that had nothing to do with Ohio State,” Swinney said. “I said they were good enough to beat us, good enough to win the whole dang thing. But I didn't think anybody that didn't play at least nine games, in my poll, that I wasn't going to put them in the top 10. I wasn't going to change that just because there was a chance we could play them.

“So I don't have any regret about that. Only thing I regret is obviously not doing a good enough job getting my team ready. But I don't regret anything about that at all.”

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman

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