On Sept 3, Dabo Swinney was asked if he would be okay delaying the College Football Playoff so those two conferences could have the ability to participate along with the ACC, SEC and Big 12.
“No. No, no,” Clemson’s head coach said at the time. “We are ready to roll. That would be something I would not be in favor for. I’m all in favor of them playing. I would love for them to play, that would be great. I think the testing is a great opportunity for everyone for sure, but it would be kind of hard to start in November and then get in there.”
On Wednesday, the Big Ten announced it will return to play this college football season with games starting on the weekend of Oct. 23-24. On Aug. 11, the Big Ten and Pac 12 both decided to postpone their fall sports seasons and move them to the spring. The ACC, SEC and Big 12, along with the AAC, Sun Belt and Conference USA decided to push forward and play in the fall.
Now the plan is for Big Ten teams to play an eight-game conference schedule with no open dates and play it’s conference championship game on Dec. 19, the same day the SEC and Big 12 are hosting their championship games.
When asked on Wednesday if he had any issues with the Big Ten being eligible for the CFP, Swinney did not reject the notion.
“I would love for them to be,” he said after Wednesday’s practice. “I think (on Sept. 3) I was asked the question if they played in November … started sometime in November, I don’t know how that would be possible. So, it sounds like they are going to start earlier than that, so, hey, it will be great. I am happy for all of those kids first of all and the coaches that they will get an opportunity to go and compete.”
Clemson, who is ranked No. 1 in the country, opened its season next week with a 24-point victory at Wake Forest. With the Big Ten now returning to play, Ohio State, who was ranked No. 2 in the preseason poll, will surely be a player in the playoff mix, along with Alabama and Oklahoma.
Swinney was later asked if he would have an issue with a Big Ten team getting into the playoff given the fact it’s conference will play possibly three less games than the ACC Champion and two less than the SEC and Big 12 Champions.
“In a year like this, no. I think it is a crazy year,” Swinney said. “Who knows how many games anybody is going to have? I think if they started in November, I don’t think that would have been feasible. But I don’t know much about it, but from what I have heard they are going to play eight or nine games or whatever.”
By the time Ohio State or any Big Ten team plays their first game, Clemson will be playing its sixth game of the season.
“I think they certainly will have the opportunity to compete [in the CFP]. I have no problem with that at all,” Swinney said. “You have some of the best teams in the country in that league and it is not those players’ fault. It’s not those coaches’ fault. I am just glad they are getting an opportunity to get back to playing.
“They have all worked their tails off. Most people have no idea what goes into getting a team ready and all the preparation that goes into the off-season and so forth. So, I am just happy for them.”
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