ACC Commissioner John Swofford sat down with Mark Packer and Wes Durham on their show Friday morning to discuss the votes that took place this week. He made it clear that he was disappointed with the SEC’s decision but also that it was their decision to make, and it was understood.
“We took a different route as a conference”, Swofford said, “We were and are very comfortable will that route.”
The decision made by the SEC on Thursday to not play non conference games has caused a big uproar among fans on both sides. These matchups are not just games but a part of the football landscape, they are among the biggest in college football, and the fans live with these rivalries 365 days a year.
“I’m not surprised that we didn’t end up at exactly the same place,” Swofford said. “We’re ending up in similar places but not exactly the same place. And that’s OK. The communication has been excellent. Greg (Sankey, SEC commissioner) and I speak often, as we speak with the other conferences as well. It took them a good while for them to be comfortable to make a decision just as it did us. Some of us wanted to wait a little longer than others in order to have more information when we tried to finalize a decision and the Big Ten and the PAC-12 went a little earlier.”
You have the Florida/Florida State and Georgia/Georgia Tech matchups that showcase national powers more often than not. You also have Kentucky and Louisville that play to close the season in a significant game for fans of those programs.
Then you have the Grandaddy of them all, known as the Palmetto bowl, that has been played consecutively between Clemson and South Carolina since 1909. It is the second longest rivalry of any kind behind Minnesota/Wisconsin, who played in their 113th consecutive game this past season.
“We’re all dealing with the same set of circumstances in a sense,” Swofford said. “My disappointment isn’t really a criticism of the SEC, but it’s just a disappointment that those are quality games that from our standpoint could have been played but now will not be played.”
Clemson fans were looking forward to this game because it looked to be a game that would see Dabo Swinney tie the longest win streak in series history with number seven (1934-40) and would give them bragging rights for another year. With that said, and ironically enough, it has been reported that South Carolina was the only school that voted to keep the 11th game. They want the series intact as much as Clemson does.
As for the schedule, Swofford said that he believes the schools will all finalize their non conference games for the upcoming year soon. Per the new league protocols, those games must be played at home or in the school’s home state, and opposing programs must meet the medical protocol requirements as agreed upon by the ACC.