Clemson coach Dabo Swinney wants no part of expanding the college football playoffs to eight teams.
“I’m against it. I always have been. To be honest with you, I thought the BCS (a two-team playoff) was right,” Swinney said Thursday.
The Tigers play Ohio State Saturday in the second of two playoff semifinals. Winning that game would advance Clemson to the national championship game against Alabama or Washington.
Swinney gave a long and impassioned response when asked if an expansion to an eight-team playoff would be a good idea. Among his concerns would be diminished importance of regular-season games.
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“I think right now we have the best of both worlds. I love college football. Everybody thinks this is a big game. I’m telling you, Troy was a big game. South Carolina State was a big game. Wake Forest was a big game… .
“If we don’t take care of business (in the regular season) we’re not sitting here.”
Swinney believes college football players are already stretched to their limits by adding two post-season games to the schedule.
“To play a 15-game schedule in college football is incredibly difficult. To manage school and so forth is a real challenge for these guys,” Swinney said. “Something would have to change – you might have to do away with the (conference) championship game and play one less (regular-season) game.”
Swinney also would hate to see non-playoff bowl games further diminished in importance.
“I know there are people who think we have too many bowl games. As a former player who played in bowl games, I think it’s awesome for young people to go somewhere regardless of where it is. To go and spend time together as a team and have the chance to finish the season with a win.
“That gives you extra time to develop your team for next year. If (the playoff) grows bigger, we water it down. Then you have these teams with three losses that maybe get in because their brand is strong. I think we have it right now.”
One of the major success stories for Ohio State this season is safety Malik Hooker, who went from playing little to stardom. Hooker returned three interceptions for touchdowns.
Hooker might have been unknown to fans, but quarterback J.T. Barrett knew all about Hooker’s speed and ball skills
“I knew who Malik Hooker was from practice. The nation didn’t know his abilities, but that applies to a lot of people,” Barrett said. “This team is about a lot of young guys making a name for themselves.”
Barrett was asked about Clemson safety Jadar Johnson, who earlier in the week said of Barrett, “We’ve definitely faced quarterbacks better than him.”
“I thought, ‘That’s cool if that’s his opinion.’ “ Barrett said. “That’s not going to alter how I play; I’m confident in my skills. I’ll be ready.”