Leave it to Dabo Swinney to put the SEC in its place. It is fitting considering Swinney’s Clemson Tigers have won more games against SEC competition over the last decade than any other non-SEC team in the country.
On Wednesday, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey tried to butt into the ACC’s decision to give Clemson and Notre Dame next weekend off, instead of playing makeup games. Clemson’s game with Florida State was still up in the air after the Seminoles postponed it on Nov. 21. Notre Dame was already rescheduled to play at Wake Forest on Dec. 12.
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 on Saturday.
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.
When Sankey was asked about the ACC’s move to cancel those games, the SEC Commissioner said he was surprised.
“It begs one question: If their two most highly ranked teams were, for instance, [ranked] five and six in the CFP Rankings, would this decision have been made,” Sankey told CBS Sports.
On Thursday’s Off-Campus Show with Mark Packer on ESPNU Radio, Swinney took up for the ACC.
“It is what it is. We are thankful to have a chance to play ten games,” the Clemson coach said. “We had eleven scheduled. And listen, we wanted to play an SEC game as well. We weren’t the ones who canceled the South Carolina game. That is for sure.”
In August, the SEC decided to cancel the Clemson-South Carolina game when it decided its teams were going to play 10-conference games only. The ACC had already voted before that to play 11 games (10-conference, plus one non-conference game) to preserve the rivalry games between Clemson and South Carolina, Georgia and Georgia Tech, Florida and Florida State and Kentucky and Louisville.
“We wanted to play that (game) but we did not get the opportunity,” Swinney said. “We wanted to play eleven, but with the Good Lord willing, we will get our tenth in and man what a season it has been. If that is good enough to get us to Charlotte, then hey, we will move on and get ready for a great championship game if we can earn the right to do that and anything can happen from there.”
To date, the ACC has played more games (75) than any other conference during the pandemic. By the way, the SEC has played just 58 games to this point.
If the games scheduled for this week through Dec. 19 are played, every ACC team will have played at least 10 regular season games. NC State, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Louisville, Duke and Syracuse will have played 11 games.
But Sankey did not want to let facts get in the way of his comments.
“We committed to playing a 10-game schedule, which is certainly unique to see some other decisions this week,” said Sankey to CBS, obviously referring to the ACC, “where they indicated one direction and they changed at the last minute.”
“We’re still moving forward with the opportunity for all 14 of our teams to play 10 games,” he continued.
That is great, but that still is fewer games than what many teams in the ACC are playing. By the way, Clemson is playing the same number of games as Alabama, Florida and Texas A&M.
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