Clemson HC Dabo Swinney Not in Favor of Delaying CFP for Big Ten, Pac-12

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2020

FILE - In this Dec. 28, 2019, file photo, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney watches players warm up for the team's Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football playoff semifinal against Ohio State in Glendale, Ariz. The top-ranked Tigers are 29-1 over the past two seasons and have won five straight ACC championships. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney leads the No. 1 team in the country in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll and has no interest in the College Football Playoff adjusting its schedule to accommodate the No. 2 team.

"We're ready to roll," Swinney said while adding he does not think the CFP should wait for delayed starts from the Big Ten and Pac-12, per David M. Hale of ESPN. "That would be something I wouldn't be in favor for. It'd be hard to start in November and then push the season into February."

A CFP without the Big Ten and Pac-12, which postponed their seasons amid the COVID-19 pandemic, would likely have the biggest impact on Ohio State. The Buckeyes are No. 2 in the country and return a number of players, including quarterback Justin Fields, to one of the only teams with enough talent on paper to potentially challenge Swinney's Tigers.

Clemson notably defeated Ohio State in last season's CFP semis, but it easily could have gone the other way. The Buckeyes blew a 16-0 lead, and the Tigers benefited from a controversial call that took a touchdown off the board.

However, Ohio State is not the only potential contender from the Big Ten and Pac-12 who would not have a chance to compete for a championship if the CFP does not accommodate a potential later start to the season.

Penn State (No. 7), Oregon (No. 9), Wisconsin (No. 12), Michigan (No. 16), USC (No. 17), Minnesota (No. 19), Utah (No. 22) and Iowa (No. 24) are all in the Top 25 with talented squads.

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While there are no set start dates for the Big Ten or Pac-12, President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday he "Had a very productive conversation with Kevin Warren, Commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, about immediately starting up Big Ten football. Would be good (great!) for everyone—Players, Fans, Country. On the one yard line!"

Hale noted the Pac-12 announced a new COVID-19 testing partnership Thursday, which Commissioner Larry Scott said could facilitate a start sooner than Jan. 1.

However, Hale also pointed out playoff chairman Bill Hancock said there has not been any conversation about holding playoff games in the spring.

That is surely music to the ears of Swinney.

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