Dabo Swinney reveals why he opted out of voting in the Coaches Poll
For the first time in his head coaching career, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney opted out of voting in the AFCA Coaches Poll.
Swinney was asked Tuesday about his Tigers not receiving any top-25 votes in the polls and said he felt the 7-3 Tigers were being overlooked. But it was what he said next that has made waves throughout the college football blogosphere.
“I didn’t vote this year, though,” Swinney said of the Coaches Poll, according to The Post and Courier’s Jon Blau. “That’s the first time in my head coaching career I opted out of that. Thirteen years of doing that, because of all the drama last year. That was just a distraction for my team, based on what I felt. So just something I could just eliminate. (Doesn’t) matter anyway. Who cares?”
The drama Swinney is referring to there was the fallout of the Clemson coach ranking Ohio State No. 11 on his final ballot last season. The majority of the panel’s 61 coaches placed Ohio State among the top 4, and all but Swinney ranked the Buckeyes in the top 6. Swinney had Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Florida, Georgia, Cincinnati, Oklahoma, Iowa State, and Coastal Carolina all ahead of Ohio State.
Ohio State was 6-0 after its win in the Big Ten championship game over Northwestern. The Buckeyes only got 5 regular-season games, though, due to COVID-related cancellations by opponents, and Swinney felt the Buckeyes simply hadn’t been on the field enough to merit a top ranking. The Tigers played 11 in 2020.
The two teams met on Jan. 1 in New Orleans at the Sugar Bowl, a rematch of the previous year’s College Football Playoff semifinal game that Clemson won by 6 points. Ohio State beat the Tigers 49-28. “I don’t regret any of that,” Swinney said after the game. “Polls have nothing to do with motivation.”