SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Dabo Swinney was pretty blunt when he was asked if the College Football Playoff should play its semifinal games on New Year’s Day every year.
For more than a half century, New Year’s Day was always reserved for the game’s biggest bowls … The Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and in the last 30 years the Fiesta Bowl.
“For me, I would say yes,” Swinney said. “I would much prefer to be on January 1 and just have the consistency in that and I have done that. We played on the first, maybe it was the 31st. I can’t remember which one it was. But I personally like being able to be home for Christmas and head out on the 26th and have your bowl prep. That is to me preferable.”
Clemson, who will play No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday in the Fiesta Bowl as part of the CFP semifinals, came to the Phoenix area on Dec. 22, meaning the Tigers spent Christmas in Arizona this year. Last year, the Tigers had to celebrate Christmas in Dallas.
“Whatever they say, we will do whatever we need to do, but I would love that,” Swinney said. “I know they are on the schedule with the NFL or whatever, I don’t know what dictates all that stuff, but this year has been a little different because of the way it was laid out.”
Swinney is of course talking about having just three weeks to prepare for the Fiesta Bowl as opposed to the four weeks they normally get due to the fact the conference championship games were a week later than usual. Also, there is a two-week gap between the semifinals and the national championship game on Saturday.
“The turnaround was the same for everybody but had there been a team that did not play in the championship game, that would have been a little different,” Swinney said. “But all of us played in these games and so we had the same amount of time, but I think the biggest thing was for the players because they did not get as much time off.
“Usually, in recruiting, we have had a couple of weeks to go recruit, but we really only had a week. So, it was compressed for sure, but it is like a little longer open date as opposed to bowl prep. If I had my way, I would say play on January 1 and adjust from there.”
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