CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is no stranger to having his words taken out of context to fit a narrative. Whether it was with regards to the NIL or playoff expansion, Swinney understands that his words will be put under a microscope and twisted.
His latest run-in occurred when he stated, as he had previously that he is not in favor of expanding the playoff—even after a "powerful" video presentation by Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame athletic director was shown to ACC coaches.
"No, it doesn't change my stance at all," Swinney said. "Again, my opinion, it doesn't mean anything because that train's left the station, you know. I think sitting around and talking about what this coach thinks or that coach is a waste of time at this point. I think expansion of the playoff is inevitable. I think the conversation needs to be, How do we get it right for the player, end of the day? How do we save the bowls?
I think we're past the point of -- not that's a foregone conclusion that it's 12 teams or whatever. I think there's a long way to go and a lot of conversation to be had on what's going to happen. I think expansion is going to be inevitable."
The reason that it is "inevitable" is simple: the almighty dollar.
"Money's driving that. I assume that's what the fans want," Swinney said. "But I think most importantly what do the players want. To ask these guys to have to show up earlier, to have no open dates, to have no break between the championship game and another game, to play more games, I don't think -- that may be what's best for the money, what's best for the fans, but I don't think that's what is best for the player."
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Swinney added that if the playoff expands, you had better look at the regular season and consider cutting back some games there because this is not the NFL.
"That's my opinion. Nothing changes. So I think if we're going to expand, I think you should talk about the season as well," Swinney said. "Maybe you go to 11 games instead of asking these guys to play more. Having been there to say -- I can just visualize being in Tampa after beating Alabama with one second on the clock, and then being out there at Levi Stadium, you've been in a championship game, you've been in a playoff game, you've been in a national championship game. Now you sit there and look at these guys and say, All right, guys, we got one more. You're just spent. You're exhausted.
"What it takes at that level. People say, It's just one more game. To me, that is a total lack of appreciation for what it takes to win a game, to prepare for a game, to play in a game of that magnitude. When you get to that level, you're talking about the best of the best, the elite of the elite. These guys all have, at that level, NFL aspirations, and a lot of them are going to play in the NFL. You got combines, you got a lot going on."
Swinney's sentiments are not without the backing of his players, including offensive lineman Matt Bockhorst—who does not like the idea of adding games to an already grueling season.
"I would say I definitely share Coach Swinney's sentiment, that I don't necessarily feel comfortable adding another game," Bockhorst said. "I think if we're going to talk about expansion of the playoff, we also need to consider shortening the regular season.
"As an offensive lineman, when you start getting up to 14, 15 games, that's quite a few snaps. Given the situation we were presented with last year with lack of depth, the snaps add up quickly. That's some wear and tear on your body that's hard to describe. I'm not here to get anyone's pity, but it's much easier said than done. That's where I stand."