After beating Ohio State Clemson 49-28 in the semifinals of the college football playoffs at the Allstate Sugar Cup on Friday, it was clear that Tigers coach Tabo Swinney had won the best team. It will not change Swinney’s mind on where he valued Bucky on his ballot in the USA Today coaches poll.
Swinney took criticism of the Ohio state for finishing 11th, saying it was a decision made exclusively because the Buckeys had played just six games, and he said after Friday’s defeat that he suspected it was too motivating.
“I do not regret any of that, it has nothing to do with the motivation for the referendum,” Swinney said. “Both teams were very motivated to play.”
Swinney reiterated that his ranking was not to diminish the talent of the Ohio State, but rather the decision not to include any team with less than nine games in its top 10.
After the game, Ohio state coach Ryan Day said his team was very motivated to play, partly because of the rankings, but more because of memories of losing the playoffs to Clemson last year.
“I do not know if we’re really excited about the chance to play for a national championship,” Day said, “or to avenge that loss.”
He said he had no feelings about Swinney’s ranking and after Friday’s game, Clemson coach told him to “go out and win everything.”
Swinney underestimated any notion that Ohio State added motivation to win, saying his team was prepared and focused, but did not perform well against a talented Buckies team.
“They’re a great team,” Swinney said. “[The ranking] It has nothing to do with the state of Ohio. They said they were enough to beat us, enough to beat the whole dong thing. But in my poll, I don’t think I’m going to add anyone who hasn’t played in at least nine games to the top 10. So I’m not going to change it because there was a chance we could play them. So I have no regrets about that. The only thing I regret is not doing a good enough job of preparing my team. But I have no regrets about it. “
Swinney’s high ranking certainly would not have changed the outcome, Ohio State’s tight end Jeremy Rugert Said, but it helped to sweeten Friday’s dominating performance a bit.
“Whatever they say or whatever we say motivates you,” Ruckert said. “It’s the biggest stage of college football. If it does not motivate you, I do not know what you are doing here. We certainly listened to what he had to say.