Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney went to bat for the Atlantic Coast Conference on Sunday amid speculation the conference was protecting its two top teams to secure spots for the College Football Playoff.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey was the one who made the assertion. Sankey took issue with the conference for failing to fill games in Clemson and Ons Dame’s open dates ahead of the ACC title game, saying that his conference mostly played all of its scheduled games.
“Florida will have to play eight straight weeks through our championship game,” Sankey said Saturday, via AL.com. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we have some conferences that aren’t even going to play eight games in their schedule.”
Sankey added: “Playing games matters. The Playoff selection committee has said that. We have a chance to demonstrate the excellent football in the Southeastern Conference today. I really didn’t have any pushback from our teams. They’re ready to play and have these opportunities. I think playing games matters. Candidly, you take the Texas A&M-Florida game. We added that to our schedule when we went from 8 conference games to 10. You take that game away and Florida is undefeated, and Texas A&M only has the loss at Alabama and it’s a different world. So, the question is — are we going to be rewarded for playing games or rewarded for not playing games?”
Swinney dismissed any notion of that being the case.
“If the ACC was trying to really protect Clemson and Notre Dame, why would we even play a game this week?" hy het vertel ESPN. “I mean, if six wins can get you in the playoff, shouldn’t nine get you there? Shouldn’t 10 get you there?”
Swinney added: “I would’ve loved to play this past weekend. I had no problem with that. I didn’t make the decision. We wanted to play when we were down in Tallahassee and were about to get on a bus and go play. Things happen.”
The SEC might have had a good opportunity to have two teams in the playoff if Florida didn’t lose to LSU over the weekend. Texas A&M could sneak in but they didn’t make the SEC title game.
The College Football Playoff will have a lot of explaining to do next week trying to navigate the murkiness of trying to determine who’s in and who’s out.