Swinney a step ahead on conference realignment

Swinney a step ahead on conference realignment

Football

Swinney a step ahead on conference realignment

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Last week Dabo Swinney shifted gears from talking about the 12-team playoff to discussing potential changes to the structure of college athletics.

“I think the bigger question is where is college football going from a structural standpoint?,” Swinney asked at the Clemson Football Media Outing. “If it’s a 40-team league but with 130 teams and one trophy it’s not like basketball where you bring in a couple of guys and all the sudden you make a run at it.”

He went on to suggest college football could operate like the Premier League in soccer with a smaller pool of elite teams competing for a title.

The comments seemed odd last Tuesday but as details emerged about the plan for Texas and Oklahoma to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC, Swinney’s questions about the structure of the sport seem much more realistic.

On Tuesday night at the annual Fisher DeBerry Coaches for Charity event Swinney dove deeper into the future of college football with conference realignment.

“I think the first dominoes are falling and ultimately the more expansion you have the more you are going to have super conferences somewhere down the road,” Swinney said in audio obtained by The Clemson Insider. “I don’t know when it is probably five years or 10 years there probably will be some kind of 40, 50, 60 team league that has their own commissioner or whatever with a 12 or 16 team playoff.”

At the beginning of the interview South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer joked that any questions about the College Football Playoff and conference realignment go to Swinney.

The Clemson head coach did not shy away from the questions but again emphasized that his focus remains on the Tigers’ opener against Georgia and that he will play in whatever structure shakes out at the top.

“I don’t know ultimately where it’s going and right now, we’re all about getting ready for Georgia,” Swinney said. “It is what it is and, in our roles, we don’t really have any input in that our job is to get our teams ready and play by whatever rules they give us.”

The SEC announced it received formal requests from Texas and Oklahoma to join the conference at the start of the 2025-26 academic year.

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