Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has drawn the ire of the state of Ohio since the release of his final coaches poll—in which, he placed the Ohio State Buckeyes 11th.
However, when asked about whether it was simply gamesmanship or a subtle jab at the Buckeye program, Swinney again defended his belief that the number of games played has to matter.
"If Southern Cal had been 6-0, I wouldn't have had them in there," Swinney said. "Every year I take (ballot) seriously, but especially this year. I just don't think it's right that three teams have to play 13 games to be the champion and one team has to play eight. People have a problem with that, I don't really care. It's my poll. I would also remind the Ohio State people I voted them in 2017 and left Alabama out, and they were good enough to win it. I just think Ohio State deserved it. I'm an equal opportunity guy. I think the games matter.
"I don't think it's right that Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Florida, Cincinnati got punished because they played more games. The game is not played on paper. To just say, 'They would have won,' I don't think that's right. People take it personal, but it's nothing personal at all."
Swinney added that he has the utmost respect for the Buckeye program, as well as their head coach, Ryan Day.
"It's a big deal because we are having to play them," Swinney said. "As I said earlier, there is no question Ohio State is good enough to beat us, any of us, to be a national champion. I didn't rank anybody that didn't play nine games or more in the top 10. That's why they were 11. It had nothing to do ... I mean I have all the respect in the world for Ohio State. I think the world of Ryan Day. They are a wonderful program. We recruit abasing them because I think we have a lot of similarities."