Dabo Swinney isn't shy about bold declarations. His latest, while likely a joke, is also one of his best.
"I could probably run for governor in Michigan and have a chance," Swinney said on a conference call Monday morning.
Why does Swinney think he'd have a chance? Because he keeps offending the Ohio State fan base and he figures Michigan fans must be grateful for that. Swinney recently ranked Ohio State No. 11 in his vote of the USA Today Coaches' Poll. Before speculating about a gubernatorial race, Swinney explained that, too.
“First of all, my vote don’t mean anything,” Swinney told Tom Rinaldi on College Football Scoreboard. “But it means something to me, you know? It’s my poll. I do it. It creates a stir because we just so happen to be playing Ohio State. It has nothing to do with Ohio State — absolutely zero. You can change the name to Michigan or Georgia or Florida or Tennessee or Nebraska. Any time you have a top-10 (ranking), it should be that special. This year it’s like really, really, really special and I wanted it to be that way. And so, I wanted to recognize the teams that played nine games or more. And so, if you didn’t play nine games, I just didn’t consider you from the top 10. That’s why they were 11.”
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Swinney's been on a roll speaking about Ohio State's worthiness ahead of his Clemson team's matchup with the Buckeyes on Friday in the College Football Playoff semifinal round. The Tigers have played 11 games this season, going 10-1, while OSU is 6-0.
But Swinney went on to say that he felt certain teams were "punished" by playing more games, including specific mentions of Texas A&M, Florida, Cincinnati and Oklahoma.
“Obviously, (Ohio State is) a great team,” Swinney said. “They’re plenty good enough and talented enough to beat us and good enough to win the national championship. But in my opinion, I don’t think that it’s right that three teams have to play 13 games to win it all and one team has to play eight. What universe am I living in? And it has nothing to do with them. It was about qualifying. And I didn’t think they were qualified, based on the number of games, versus all these other teams.”
Swinney holds a 3-0 record as Clemson's head coach against Ohio State. That includes two victories in CFP semifinals, both in 2019 and 2016, along with a win in the 2014 Orange Bowl. The latest installment in the series is already filled with verbal fireworks.