Though his team moved up to No. 3 in Tuesday’s College Football Playoff Rankings, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney feels the same way about the rankings as he did last week when the Tigers were ranked No. 5.
“It just doesn’t matter,” he said following Wednesday’s practice at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson.
However, Swinney did go on to say Clemson is fortunate to be in the position they are in with two games left in the regular season and then the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 7 in Charlotte.
“Here we are in mid-November and we still control our own destiny,” he said. “There are a lot of teams out there who don’t. They are not necessarily out of it, but they are not driving the car. They are just kind of a passenger.”
The only teams driving their own car, as Swinney puts it, are No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Georgia. Alabama, ranked No. 5 in the rankings, needs a little help, as does No. 6 Oregon and No. 7 Utah.
Even No. 8 Minnesota controls its own destiny. Should it win out in the regular season and beat the Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship Game, then the Gophers will likely make the playoff.
The Tigers (10-0, 7-0 ACC) conclude the ACC part of their schedule this Saturday when they host Wake Forest in their home finale. Clemson has already wrapped up a spot in the ACC Championship Game after last week’s win at NC State, combined with the Demon Deacons loss at Virginia Tech.
“We are in a good spot,” Swinney said. “We just have to continue to play well. We have a huge challenge ahead. It is going to take three more great games for us to solidify ourselves and that is the way it should be. You have to earn your way there.
“We are going to have earn our way. You can’t win 13 until you win 11. That is what we have an opportunity to do this week and it is going to take a really good performance by our guys.”
Redshirt update. Swinney said they have several freshmen they plan to redshirt that they are holding for one more game.
One is freshman quarterback Taisun Phommachanh. Swinney said they are sitting on his one game as long as they can.
“You would like to get through the ACC Championship Game if you could,” Swinney said. “If you are fortunate enough to get to the playoffs, it sure would be nice to know you have another guy that has a game left if you had to have it in a situation because he is a really good player.”
Phommachanh has played in the Georgia Tech, Charlotte and Florida State games this season.
Swinney said tight end Jaelyn Lay and linebacker Keith Maguire also have one game left and they plan to try and use them the same way as Phommachanh.
Punter and kickoff specialist Aidan Swanson has two games remaining on his redshirt.
“We are just kind of holding a few guys and then we have a few others that we will go ahead and play if the situation arises that we can play them,” Swinney said.
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