Nov 7, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney signals to his players in the second quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

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Swinney disputes claim that ACC protecting Tigers, Irish

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney dismissed comments from Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey that criticized the Atlantic Coast Conference for not making Swinney’s Tigers and Notre Dame play makeup games on Saturday, an open date for each team.

The Fighting Irish (10-0) sit second and the Tigers (9-1) are third in the College Football Playoff poll, so the open date makes sure neither team sustains a loss that could damage their ranking, as they head into the ACC championship game on Dec. 19.

“If the ACC was trying to really protect Clemson and Notre Dame, why would we even play a game this week? I mean, if six wins can get you in the playoff, shouldn’t nine get you there? Shouldn’t 10 get you there?”

The reference to six wins appears aimed at Ohio State, which is 5-0 and needed a waiver from its conference to be allowed to play in the Big Ten title game because it had not played six games, which was mandated before the start of the season.

The SEC, meanwhile, is on track to have 69 of its 70 conference games played, a pace not matched by other conferences.

“Playing games matters. The Playoff selection committee has said that,” Sankey said Saturday, adding that his teams “are ready to play and have these opportunities. I think playing games matters. Candidly, you take the Texas A&M-Florida game. We added that to our schedule when we went from eight conference games to 10. You take that game away and Florida is undefeated and Texas A&M only has the loss at Alabama and it’s a different world. So the question is – are we going to be rewarded for playing games or rewarded for not playing games?”

Clemson had a game postponed on Nov. 21 at Florida State, when the Tigers were already in Tallahassee and getting ready to play when it was announced that a backup defensive lineman for Clemson had tested positive for COVID-19 and traveled with the team.

Swinney and others accused Florida State of using the announcement as a reason not to play the game.

Notre Dame had a postponement on Sept. 19 at Wake Forest.

“I would’ve loved to play this past weekend,” Swinney said. “I had no problem with that. I didn’t make the decision. We wanted to play when we were down in Tallahassee and were about to get on a bus and go play. Things happen.”

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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