Dabo Swinney

Clemson shocked the College Football Playoff by absolutely dismantling Ohio State in the semifinals last season, 31-0. The Tigers entered as a slight underdog, but coach Dabo Swinney says he always knew they completely outmatched the Buckeyes.

In an interview with WCCP-FM’s Walt Deptula, Swinney revealed he knew Ohio State was in a load of trouble once he started watching film, implying the Big Ten was vastly overrated:

“That’s another reason why we’ve been so successful. Nobody wants to talk about that. Go back to last year. We’re trying to figure out a way to get four Big Ten teams into the Playoff. And let me tell you, if they could have figured it out they would have done it. And I didn’t pay any attention to the Big Ten. You just kind of buy it, right? That is just what is out there. And we get ready to play Ohio St., and I am watching film, and I watch every single game. And when I was done I go into my team and I say, ‘Boys, these guys are in trouble. I’ve watched the whole league and I’ve watched both sides of the league, and these guys are in trouble.’ And that’s what happened. That’s a credit to our league. That’s why myself and Jimbo and some of these other coaches are quick to point it out.”

This isn’t a new take. After Clemson beat Alabama for the national championship in January, Swinney professed the ACC is the best conference in football, although he didn’t take such a direct shot at Ohio State and the Big Ten that time.

Swinney has spoken plenty of nonsense in the past, like comparing Deshaun Watson to Michael Jordan and then guaranteeing the rookie quarterback would soon lead the Texans to a Super Bowl.

But he’s got a point on the ACC’s dominance over the Big Ten. Last season, the ACC went 6-2 against the Big Ten and 10-4 against the SEC while securing its second national title in the last four years (Florida State, 2014).

The Big Ten boasted four teams in the top eight of last year’s College Football Playoff rankings, but three lost their bowl games. The conference finished 3-7 overall during bowl season. Just last week, USA Today’s Dan Wolken proclaimed the Big Ten has replaced the SEC as college football’s most overrated conference.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer could get his revenge if both teams reach the CFP once again. They’re each ranked in the top five of the preseason coaches poll, although the Tigers will have some strong competition in the ACC this season.

While the Buckeyes basketball program showcases one of the toughest rebuilding jobs in the nation, the football team is still rolling. Defensive coordinator Greg Schiano even thinks their defensive line this year is better than the defensive line he coached with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


About Jesse Kramer

Jesse is a writer and editor for The Comeback. He has also worked for SI.com and runs The Catch and Shoot, a college basketball website based in Chicago. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Follow Jesse on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer.