LeBron James Slams Dabo Swinney over No. 11 OSU Ranking After Clemson's Loss

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James laughs as he waits to check in to the team's NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half Friday, March 29, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 129-115. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

NBA superstar LeBron James, an Ohio State fan, took aim at Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney for ranking the Buckeyes 11th in the Coaches Poll before the teams' meeting in the Sugar Bowl national semifinal, which OSU won 49-28 Friday night.

LeBron James @KingJames

I’m looking forward to seeing what Dabo answer is when they ask him if he still think @OhioStateFB is the 11th best team in the country.

Swinney said after the loss he stood by his decision and didn't think it provided any role in giving the Buckeyes extra bulletin-board material heading into the contest.

"I don't regret any of that, and polls have nothing to do with motivation," Swinney told reporters. "Both teams were highly motivated to play."

LeBron James @KingJames

#GoBuckeyes https://t.co/3fqu2cqHZs https://t.co/WEK55fSMHh

He added:

"They're a great team. [The ranking] had nothing to do with Ohio State. I said they were good enough to beat us, good enough to win the whole dang thing. But I didn't think anybody that didn't play at least nine games, in my poll, that I wasn't going to put them in the top 10. So I wasn't going to change that just because there was a chance we could play them. So I don't have any regret about that. Only thing I regret is obviously not doing a good enough job getting my team ready. But I don't regret anything about that at all."

It was a dominant outing from the Ohio State offense, which racked up 639 yards and seven touchdowns. Quarterback Justin Fields led the charge by completing 22 of his 28 throws for 385 yards with six scores and one interception.

Swinney rightfully took heat for ranking the Buckeyes outside the top 10. While he's explained he was applying a games-played metric to his order, there's no way 10 teams in college football were better than OSU this year, and Clemson found that out firsthand.

That said, it's hard to say what type of impact, if any, the ranking had on the Sugar Bowl. Ohio State was simply the better team, pairing a terrific offensive performance with a constant barrage of pressure on Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence to advance to the national title game.

The Buckeyes are going to need a similarly efficient effort to have a chance against a dominant Alabama squad in the championship game.

That contest is scheduled for Jan. 11, which is good news for James because his reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers are off that night, giving him a chance to enjoy OSU's title pursuit.