CLEMSON — It appears that with each passing year that the College Football Playoff remains at only four teams there is an ever-increasing vocal crowd of conferences and schools that are making a case for expanding the playoff to eight, or even 16 teams.
However, one person that is not a proponent of expanding the playoff format in any way, shape or form is Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, who believes that less is more.
In fact, Swinney would be in favor or returning to the old BCS format, which pitted the No. 1 team against the No. 2 team in the national championship game.
“I am the wrong guy to ask that. I would be more about going back to two, to be honest with you,” Swinney said. “I am not a ‘more is better’ guy. I know there is a huge crowd out there for that, but I think college football is unique. And then suddenly it becomes like everything else when you do that.”
Even with the outcry in the past from teams like the University of Central Florida, which was undefeated in 2018, or Ohio State in 2018, which won the Big Ten title and finished with a 12-1 regular season, Swinney is still a fan of the 40 traditional bowl game and the excitement and reward that they provide for those teams.
“I love that about college football. I love all of the funky matchups,” Swinney said. “I love the Funky Cold Medina Poulan Weedeater Bowl in wherever. I love all of that and I love the crazy games. There is obviously a market for it because television loves to put it on there. I love the trips. I have experienced it as a player and a coach, and I am more traditional, and I get that.”
Swinney understands the benefit of having been a part of the CFP over the last four seasons, but he also hates how the playoff format has devalued the remainder of the bowl games for the 36 teams that are not selected to participate.
“We benefited from being able to get in the final four. And it's hard,” Swinney said. “I hate that all of a sudden now it's not cool to go to the Gator Bowl? Are you kidding me? I don't like that mindset. I think the more you expand the more that becomes (the thought about the other bowls). I know that falls on a lot of deaf ears. It doesn't mean I'm right, it's just my opinion.”
Another reason that Swinney is not a proponent of expanding the current playoff format is he believes that it will dilute the regular season—making it easier to be rewarded for having a mediocre season instead of rewarding great seasons.
“But I love the passion of college football. I think the more you expand the less the season matters. It just doesn't matter,” Swinney said. “And then all of a sudden you're in the playoffs and it doesn't matter if you're 9-3 or 8-4. You are in the playoffs and it doesn't matter because the games don't matter anymore.”
But it is not Swinney’s job to make the rules. So regardless of what happens down the road with the playoff, he understands that it is his job to coach his Tigers and leave the big decisions to other people.
“If we expand we will embrace it,” Swinney said. “I love my job and I love what I do and we'll embrace the decision of whatever those people say.”