Clemson will start its sixth consecutive College Football Playoff by playing Ohio State, a team Tigers coach Dabo Swinney ranked well outside the top four (No. 11) on his Coaches Poll ballot. In a clip of an interview shown Saturday on ESPN’s College Football Scoreboard, Swinney maintained that he doesn’t view OSU as qualified and believes Florida and Texas A&M were among teams “punished” for playing more games than the Buckeyes.

“Yeah, overreaction,” Swinney said when asked about the reaction to his ranking of Ohio State. “First of all, my vote don’t mean anything. 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. Anytime 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 for the Top 10. That’s why (the Buckeyes) were 11 (on Swinney’s Coaches Poll ballot).

“Obviously, they’re a great team. 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 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. … In my opinion — Texas A&M, Florida, Oklahoma, Cincinnati — they got punished for playing more games.”

As Swinney noted, Cincinnati, Florida, Oklahoma and Texas A&M all played at least nine games while Ohio State earned a CFP berth by going 6-0. Gators head coach Dan Mullen similarly implied Florida was “punished” for playing more games, saying teams with lighter schedules were rewarded:

“I know we’ve played 10 games so I guess probably the best thing to do would’ve been play less games. Because you seem to get rewarded this year for not playing this year in college football.”

The Playoff rematch between the Buckeyes and Tigers is set for 8 p.m. ET on Jan. 1.

[H/T 247Sports]