Dabo Swinney thinks the playoff committee should favor teams that have played more games

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney thinks Ohio State’s limited schedule should put the Buckeyes at a playoff disadvantage.

Swinney was on “The Rich Eisen Show” on Friday and said that he believed teams that have played more games should get favorable treatment from the College Football Playoff committee over teams that have played fewer games.

No. 4 Ohio State (5-0) will be at six games after the Big Ten championship game thanks to having three games canceled due to COVID-19. No. 3 Clemson, meanwhile, is set to play No. 2 Notre Dame for the ACC title on Dec. 19. That game will be the 11th for each team.

“I think the fact that we’re going to have 11 games as well as the SEC teams — you look at Florida and Texas A&M and Alabama — these teams are going to have 11 games this year it’s incredible,” Swinney said. “And I think the Big Ten had the same opportunity and they chose not to play and I think the only reason they ended up playing is because of the leadership of the SEC, the ACC and the Big 12. And have demonstrated that we can do it and do it in safe way.”

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Clemson, which lost to Notre Dame earlier in the season, is currently a spot ahead of Ohio State despite that defeat. If the Tigers lose again to the Fighting Irish on Dec. 19 they will likely fall behind the Buckeyes in the rankings if Ohio State beats Northwestern in the Big Ten championship.

Ohio State set to have 3 fewer games than No. 5 Texas A&M

The SEC championship game will be the 11th game for both No. 1 Alabama and No. 6 Florida while No. 5 Texas A&M is set to end the season with nine games.

“I just think that there has to be some type of standard and I just think — if I was on a committee it would be hard for me to leave out a 10-1 Texas A&M or a 11-game Florida team over a team that’s played six games. That would be hard for me if I was on the committee. But I’m not on the committee so it doesn’t really matter.”


The Big Ten was the first conference to postpone the football season over the summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It decided to start the season in late October and told teams that they’d be playing eight games in eight weeks ahead of the conference title game.

That lack of wiggle room has helped lead to Ohio State’s predicament. The Buckeyes have been forced to cancel one game because of COVID-19 and had opponents cancel twice on them because of their own COVID-19 issues. And both of those games were cancellations by heavy underdogs. While the Buckeyes weren’t guaranteed to beat both Maryland and Michigan, it was a strong likelihood that they would.

It’s also worth noting that Ohio State’s full schedule plus a Big Ten championship game would be a total of nine games. That’s the same number of games that Texas A&M is set to play this season and would be just one short of A&M’s full-season total had the Aggies not had their Saturday game against Ole Miss canceled.

That original total should be factored into Swinney’s argument. An 8-1 Big Ten champion Ohio State would be in the playoff mix even if that loss came to Illinois, Maryland, or Michigan. Would Ohio State currently be No. 4? Probably not. But a convincing win in the Big Ten title game to move to 8-1 would surely put the Buckeyes in playoff contention in the final rankings on Dec. 20.

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 03: Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney high fives Clemson Tigers offensive lineman Walker Parks (64) during pregame practice for the game between the Clemson Tigers and the Virginia Cavaliers on October 03, 2020 at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Should the playoff committee heavily factor in a team's number of games? (Photo by Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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