SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – College football fans griping about the current championship system at the highest level is a tale as old as time.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney remembers the old arguments over split championships and wished he could time travel and set up the College Football Playoff years ago. He shared his thoughts with the media ahead of the third-ranked Tigers’ CFP Semifinal matchup with No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday in the Fiesta Bowl.
“Growing up in Alabama people are still mad about missing out on votes in the past, Notre Dame is mad about a couple and there are others who are mad about those votes,” Swinney said at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn on Friday. “They used to even vote national champions before the bowl games. It would be pretty cool to go back in time and take the top four and do a playoff.”
Prior to the formation of the Bowl Championship Series in 1998 fans squabbled over split championships between Associated Press and Coaches Poll voters. In fact, the federal government almost intervened after an undefeated BYU team failed to qualify for a major bowl game in 1984.
Then outraged fans turned to the computer calculations in the BCS System and the College Football Playoff began. Now a committee of 13 decides the top four teams to meet in a playoff and the media and fans want expansion.
“We have a really cool set up in college football and personally I am not for expansion of the playoffs,” Swinney said. “A lot of people would say ‘well heck that’s because you’re in it every year’. If we get in with four surely, we would get in it with eight.”
Swinney enjoys watching teams secure the opportunity to finish their season on a winning note. He also appreciates the pageantry and tradition of the bowl system with its rich history.
Clemson has now qualified for five straight College Football Playoffs, won two CFP National Championship Games and become a staple in this latest era of college football. Swinney continued to display his confidence in a four-team playoff as he argued against expansion.
“There are 130 teams and not everybody is going to win the national championship, but I think the committee has gotten it right since they started this,” Swinney said. “They’ve gotten four great teams and the best team has won every year and settled it on the field.”
The biggest part of the playoff that pleases Swinney that there is no debate surrounding a championship anymore. While there have been issues with selection of the four-seed in the past nobody questioned the legitimacy of the CFP champions.
“There are a lot of things that get voted on, but you have to earn this and it gets settled on the field,” Swinney said. “It comes down to those four quarters (in the playoff and national championship).”
Clemson faces the Buckeyes on Saturday in a matchup of undefeated teams at 8 p.m. EST. The winner advances to New Orleans for the CFP National Championship Game to face the winner of LSU and Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl.
Clemson is back in the College Football Playoffs once again. Get the latest official Clemson CFP gear right here!