‘I’m not a more is better guy’
If Dabo Swinney had his way, he would bring back the old Bowl Championship Series.
The Clemson head coach was very adamant that he does not want to see the College Football Playoff Field expanded to six or eight teams following Friday’s practice at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson.
Since the 2019 College Football Playoff Field was announced on Dec. 2, there have been proponents from the Big 12 and Big Ten, including Wisconsin athletic director and former CFP Committee member Barry Alvarez, that want to see the playoff expand.
Most want to see it expand to an 8-team playoff field, while others just want to see it be bigger than the current four-team playoff field that makes up the CFP.
“I am not a more is better guy,” Swinney said. “I know there is a huge crowd out there for that, but I think that college football is unique and now, all of sudden, it becomes just like everything else in my opinion.”
Swinney likes the current structure where there are 40 bowl teams and 40 teams get to end the season on a high note which in turns creates enthusiasm about their program and excitement for the fans in the off-season.
Currently, 80 of the FBS’s 130 teams play in a bowl game, and more will be added next year, including the new Myrtle Beach Bowl.
“I love that about college football. I love all the funky matchups,” Swinney said. “I love the Funky Cold Medina Poulan Weed-Eater Bowl in whatever (city). I love all that. I love the crazy games. There is obviously a market for it because the TVs like to put it on there. I love the trips. I have experienced them as both a player and as a coach.”
Swinney admits he is more of a traditionalist and he knows it is easy for him to say he likes the current structure because Clemson is playing in its fourth straight CFP, but his concern is that the playoff will become diluted and the bowl games will become more and more irrelevant.
“I hate the fact that all of sudden now it is not cool to go to the Gator Bowl,” he said. “Are you kidding me?! I don’t like that mindset. I think the more you expand, the more that becomes.
“I know that falls on a lot of deaf ears. That is all I can tell you. It does not mean I am right, it is just my opinion. I am not going to tell anybody else they are wrong. They can have their opinion or whatever they want to have.”
Swinney’s biggest concern is that college football will lose the one thing that makes it unique to every other sport … the regular season matters.
“I love the passion of college football and I think the more you expand, the less the season matters. It just does not matter,” he said. “Now, all of sudden, ‘oh, we are in the playoffs!’ And it does not matter if you are 9-3 or 8-4. You are in the playoffs.
“Games don’t matter anymore and then some of the games you will not even play them. You will just sit everybody. I think that will creep in more and more and more.”
The Clemson coach understands he does not get a vote and says he will embrace whatever decision comes down the line.
“We will rock and roll. I love my job and I love what I do, and I will embrace whatever the people who make those decisions say,” Swinney said. “I don’t make those decisions. I just bide by the rules and go do it. But I have always believed in (the bowl system).”
Clemson will play Notre Dame in the 83rd Cotton Bowl Classic, as part of the CFP Semifinals, on Dec. 29 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.