Tigers coach Dabo Swinney isn't hiding his feelings on which teams he wanted to see in the College Football Playoff.
In the final AP Coaches Poll ballot ahead of Ohio State and Clemson's Sugar Bowl meeting, Swinney voted for the Buckeyes at No. 11. The majority of the panel's 61 coaches placed Ohio State in the top four, and all but Swinney ranked the Buckeyes as one of the top six teams in the nation.
Swinney put Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Florida, Georgia, Cincinnati, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Coastal Carolina ahead of Ohio State.
Even before the College Football Playoff field was announced on Sunday, Swinney disagreed with the idea that Ohio State, who only played five regular-season games, could earn a semifinal spot.
"We're going to have 11 games as well as the SEC teams—I mean, you look at Florida and Texas A&M and Alabama. I mean, these teams are going to have 11 games this year. It's incredible 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 and the ACC and the Big 12, and have demonstrated that we can do it and do it in a safe way," Swinney said Thursday on The Rich Eisen Show, via 247 Sports.
On Sunday, Swinney told reporters in a Zoom call that the Tigers "look forward" to playing Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.
The Buckeyes (6–0) played only five games in the regular season after their matchups against Maryland, Illinois and Michigan were canceled due to COVID-19 issues. Big Ten rules originally stated teams must play at least six games to qualify for the conference championship, but the league reversed the decision to allow Ohio State to play for the title. The Buckeyes beat Northwestern, 22–10, on Saturday to win their fourth straight Big Ten championship.
Meanwhile, the Tigers (10–1) only missed one contest in the ACC's 11-game regular-season schedule. Clemson defeated Notre Dame 34–10 in Saturday's ACC championship game.
Several coaches advocated for Texas A&M (8–1) to earn the fourth CFP spot over Ohio State since it played more games this season. The Aggies had three games postponed throughout the season and finished the year with a 34–13 win over Tennessee on Saturday.
No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State will play in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 1. It will be a rematch of last year's semifinal, which the Tigers won 29–23.