Dabo Swinney said he was as surprised as anyone when he walked off the practice field Tuesday evening and learned Clemson’s game against Florida State was officially canceled by the ACC, and Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech will be its regular season-finale.
Following a recommendation from the league’s Athletic Director football subcommittee, the league’s Athletic Directors voted Tuesday to preserve the integrity of the ACC Football Championship Game by evaluating each of the three teams in contention (Clemson, Miami and Notre Dame) based on a nine-game conference schedule. As a result, Clemson and Notre Dame will conclude the regular season this weekend.
Translation, Clemson’s game at Florida State has officially been canceled. As a result, Notre Dame has already clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game, which will be played on Dec. 19 in Charlotte, while the Tigers can earn a berth with a win at Virginia Tech on Saturday.
“I really thought we would be playing next week. I was surprised as anyone last night when we came off the practice field that they kind of made the change,” Swinney said. “But hey, we are going into Game Ten. We wish we had eleven, but we are thankful we have an opportunity to play ten.
“We are proud of our guys and how they competed all year. You work all year to get to a point like this, where you truly can have a chance. You don’t really have a division, you got half the league, call it whatever you want this year, but we have a chance to punch a ticket to Charlotte. But you have to go do it. You are four quarters away, four tough quarters away from that, but excited about the challenge.”
Swinney admitted the third-ranked Tigers (8-1, 7-1 ACC) were planning to play on Dec. 12. They figured they would at least have to play the Seminoles, who originally postponed the Nov. 21 game after they felt too uncomfortable to play after a Clemson player tested positive for COVID-19 the night before.
“I just assumed that we would play next week because we had a game get canceled,” Swinney said. “I know Notre Dame had one canceled and had their game re-scheduled against Wake Forest. My big thing was that if we did play, that we played the opponent we were supposed to play. There was no reason not to.
“I was hoping we would play. But we are not playing the game… I was not a part of any of those decisions. But that is the decision (the ACC) made and we just focus on what we can control and keep playing. But we had eleven scheduled and wish we could have got eleven. Lord willing, we are going to get ten and I would say that is a huge accomplishment because coming into this year there were a lot of people that did not think we would play all summer, August or whatever and now here we are going into Game Ten. Our guys have done a really, really awesome job all year.”
Clemson will play at Virginia Tech on Saturday, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ABC.
It is time to get ready for another great Clemson Christmas. The best collection of Clemson ornaments and other fine gifts are available at Clemson Variety & Frame