Playing, not playing, and playing again. It’s a scenario that the Clemson football team can be thankful they have not had to deal with over the last few weeks.
Head coach Dabo Swinney even mentioned that in his press conference on Wednesday and was very clear about how he felt about ACC leadership doing what he thought was the right thing by not leaving the players and coaches dangling over the last five weeks like the Big-10.
“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” Swinney said Wednesday. “The right thing to do isn’t always the politically correct thing to do, but I think the leadership of the presidents of the ACC, and SEC, and Big12 made a decision on the information they had.”
He also let it be known that he was glad to see the players and coaches in the Big-10 get the opportunity to play after all of the work they have put in behind the scenes. He also looks forward to them possibly having a chance to get into the college football playoff, even if they aren’t playing the same number of games.
“I think it’s just a crazy year, who knows how many games anybody is going to have,” Swinney said. “I think if they’d have started in November, I don’t think that would’ve been feasible. If they’re going to play eight or nine games or whatever, I think they certainly will have the opportunity to compete. I have no problem with that at all. You have some of the best teams in the country in that league. It’s not those players’ fault. It’s not those coaches’ fault. I’m just glad that they’re getting the opportunity to get back to playing.”
When the Big-10 first decided to bow out, Swinney said he didn’t think them not playing took anything away from a national championship. The Tigers head coach knows how hard it is to win one, regardless of who’s playing or who isn’t.
“Whoever wins this has the chance to be maybe the greatest champion ever,” Swinney said. “That doesn’t have anything to do with it to me, as far as credibility and all that. It’s hard to win, period. I don’t care who’s in the mix.”
“The last time I checked there’s been a lot of champions come from conferences that were already playing. So I don’t think it’d have made it any less competitive. But now they’re back in it, it will just make it even better. Make it more fun. Who knows what will happen.”
The Big-10 is currently scheduled to begin their season on October 24. It will consist of an eight game regular season and a championship game between the two division winners.
Every other team will get a ninth game as well. On the day of the conference title game when the two division winners are playing one another, the second place teams from each side will face off, as will the third place teams, and so on, in what can be termed as nothing more than glorified exhibitions.