Though his Tigers have appeared in six of the first seven College Football Playoffs, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney isn’t digging the new 12-team playoff expansion. Dabo is concerned that the expanded postseason would diminish the regular season and include too many teams that aren’t good enough to win a title.
Swinney addressed the playoff during Clemson’s media day: "I knew when it went to four, it was going to become all about the playoff, and when it goes to 12, it’s going to become more about the playoff, but it’s inevitable. Some people will say, ‘Well you’ve been in the playoff. If we can get in with four, we’re going to get in with 12.’ Our odds aren’t going to go down, so it’s not about that."
Entering his fourteenth season with the Tigers, Swinney tackled the issue of the expanded playoffs creating a watered-down regular season: "Our team isn’t for it. They don’t want to play more games. And to be honest with you, I don’t know if there’s 12 teams good enough. So you’re going to play more games just to play more games. And I think the more you expand it, the less important the season becomes and the more you become the NFL. As far as, all right, you’re in the playoffs. Well, you know, why play Trevor [Lawrence] in this game if you’re already in? All of a sudden, you’re not in the top 12 and kids just aren’t playing."
He continued: "…I think the bigger question is, ‘Where is college football going from a structural standpoint?’ If it’s a 40-team league — 12 teams, that can be kind of fun. But with 130 teams for one trophy, it’s not like basketball where you get two or three guys and this team over here can get hot and make a run in the tournament. It’s a different deal. This is a game built in the trenches. Not enough big, strong men on that offensive line and defensive line to go all over the country to have many teams that have a shot at winning the national championship."
Fortunately for Swinney, his Tigers shouldn’t have much trouble securing a spot in the 12-team tournament. Clemson’s won seven conference championships and two National Championships since Dabo was named coach. The Tigers enter the 2021 season as the third-ranked team in the country in both the AP Top 25 and the Coaches Poll.