After Ohio State edged Clemson 49-28 in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Friday, Tigers coach Dabo Swine said it was clear the better team won. But that would not change Swine’s mind, where he ranked Buckeye on his ballot in the USA Today Coach Poll.
Swinney criticized Ohio State for entering the playoffs in the 11th rankings, a decision he said he made specifically because of the Buckeyes playing just six games, and he said after Friday’s loss that he suspected it Inspired a lot.
“I have no regrets, and the election has nothing to do with the motivation,” Swine said. “Both teams were highly motivated to play.”
Swine reiterated that his ranking was not to diminish Ohio State’s talent, but rather the decision not to place any team in their top 10 with fewer than nine games.
After the game, Ohio State coach Ryan Day said his team was highly motivated to play for the part because of the rankings, but more because of his playoff memories to Clemson last year.
“I don’t know that we’re more excited about the chance to play for a national championship,” Day said, “or in revenge for that loss.”
Dey said he had no strong feelings about the Swine’s ranking, and after Friday’s game, the Clemson coach told him to “go out and win it all.”
Swine dismissed any notion that Ohio State added motivation to win, stating that his team was prepared and focused, but simply did not do well against a talented Buckeyes squad.
“They are a great team,” Swine said. “[The ranking] It had nothing to do with Ohio State. I said they were good enough to beat us, good enough to win the whole threat. But I didn’t feel that I didn’t play at least nine games in my poll, which I wouldn’t put them in the top 10. So I was not going to change it because there was only one chance we could play them. So, I have no regrets. The only thing I regret is that I am not doing a good job preparing my team. But I do not regret anything about it. “
A high ranking of Swinney certainly wouldn’t have changed the outcome, Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert said, but it helped make Friday’s dominant performance a little sweeter.
“Anything inspires you, whether it says so or what we say,” Ruckert said. “It’s the biggest stage in college football. If it doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what you’re doing here. We definitely heard what he was saying and used it as inspiration , But the stage, the stage playoffs and the chance to move on, that’s the inspiration in itself. Now all we have to do is keep that energy up. “