ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit has shared his reaction to Dabo Swinney ranking Ohio State No. 11 in the country in his Coaches’ Poll top 25 ballot.
Swinney, who will face Ohio State in the College Football Playoff on Friday night, doubled and tripled down on his ranking while speaking to reporters this week.
“First of all, my vote don’t mean anything. But it means something to me, you know? It’s my poll. I do it. It creates a stir because we just so happen to be playing Ohio State. It has nothing to do with Ohio State — absolutely zero. You can change the name to Michigan or Georgia or Florida or Tennessee or Nebraska. Anytime you have a top-10 (ranking), it should be that special. This year it’s like really, really, really special and I wanted it to be that way. And so, I wanted to recognize the teams that played nine games or more. And so, if you didn’t play nine games, I just didn’t consider you for the Top 10. That’s why (the Buckeyes) were 11 (on Swinney’s Coaches Poll ballot),” Swinney said.
Herbstreit shared his reaction to Swinney’s comments on his ESPN podcast.
“Six games in. People can talk about what an advantage it is for Ohio State to only play six games,” Herbstreit said this week, per 247Sports. “If you watch them, I look at it completely opposite. I think it’s a disadvantage because they don’t know who they are yet. You get to play 11 or 12 games, and as a defense you can gel together. … Ohio State comes into a semifinal game against Clemson and Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne and about the only thing they really know is their inside defensive linemen are elite.
“The question is the secondary. Will Ohio State play better? They’ll have to, to compete. Or will they get exposed and give up over 350-400 yards passing to Trevor Lawrence? … If they play at the level they’ve played all year they will not stop Clemson’s offense.” “Dabo, to his credit, he’s sticking to his guns on principle. It’s not like he’s evaluating Ohio State and their tape and saying ‘I think they’re the 11th best team in the country.’ This is strictly on principle.
“If Dabo and his team had played just six games this year and Ohio State had played 11 where would he put Clemson? Would he put them on principle at 11? Part of me thinks he would, part of me thinks he would look at that on principle and say they should be 11. Now they would probably still get the benefit of the doubt the way Ohio State did. When he has conviction about a topic he’s not gonna bend.”
Ohio State and Clemson are scheduled to kick off shortly after 8 p.m. E.T. on Friday night.
The game will be on ESPN.
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