Dabo Swinney says BCS standings are 'ridiculous'

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney reacts to a call during the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney reacts to a call during the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Clemson, FSU BCS standing 'a joke'

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— In 2014, the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision will welcome a playoff. Odds are, Dabo Swinney will be one of its biggest supporters.

Clemson’s head coach took a shot at the BCS system Tuesday, specifically how his team and the ACC are perceived.

Clemson (10-1) is No.11 in this week’s BCS standings, one spot behind 10-1 Florida State, the only team to beat the Tigers this season.

Three 9-2 teams – LSU, Stanford and Texas A&M are ahead of both teams, and Swinney isn’t happy about it.

“I think ridiculous,” Swinney said. “I couldn’t have said this at the beginning of the year, but where we’re at right now, we can play with anybody. I’d love to play Notre Dame – Lord have mercy, I’d love to play Notre Dame. It’s not like we’ve been barely beating people. This team has improved, they’ve played with great effort, passion, togetherness. Right now they’re at the point where they’re as good as anybody out there. It’s a coin toss. I don’t think teams with two losses should be in front of Clemson or Florida State.”

Strength of schedule – or lack thereof – and a weak ACC have played a role in that perception.

The BCS is weighted equally between three polls: the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll, the Harris poll, and the average of six computer polls. Clemson is ninth in the coaches’ and Harris polls, but its computer average is 15th. According to the Sagarin rankings, one of the six computer polls, Clemson has the nation’s No.89 schedule. The only teams worse among Sagarin’s top 30? San Jose State at No.89 and FSU at No.93.

“Some of that’s perception, some of it’s the teams we’ve played not having that good a year,” Swinney said. “All you can do is line up and be the best we can be. If we and Florida State finish strong we’re fine. If we can put together consistent finishes as a program, the perception changes. We’re kind of the new kid on the block, or the old kid coming back to the block. We haven’t been in that party very much. I get it.”

No fireworks: If you expected another round of fireworks in Dabo Swinney’s ongoing verbal rivalry with Steve Spurrier this week, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

While the head coaches of the state’s two FBS programs have taken shot after shot at one another over the past 12 months, both were highly complementary of the other this week, seemingly taking care to avoid controversy.

“This is not about me and coach Spurrier,” Swinney said. “It’s not. Some might want to make it that way, but I’m not really comfortable with that. I want our guys to play great, and I’m just trying to get a first down on Saturday. Coach Spurrier is an interesting guy – we actually get along. I haven’t had a problem with him whenever I’ve been around him.”

Spurrier, says Swinney, is who he is, and that’s OK.

“I don’t think it’s personal,” he said. “It’s not like he’s just now (throwing barbs). He’s got a long track record of who he is. He likes to stir it up now and then – it doesn’t have anything to do with the game. If (his barbs) cross the line, absolutely, I’m always going to defend myself and the people I believe in, Clemson, our program our players.

“I thought (his jab about LSU having the real Death Valley) was a pretty good comeback, pretty funny. Again, I’ve got respect for coach Spurrier. He’s been doing this a long, long time and has had a lot of success.”

Happy birthday: Swinney turned 43 Tuesday. He is 11 days shy of his four-year anniversary as the Tigers’ full-time head coach, which naturally led to a question about his progression in the job.

“I was 38 when I got thrust into this grease pit,” Swinney quipped in response to a question from The State columnist Ron Morris, who gained attention earlier this season for his feud with Spurrier. “Heck yeah, I’ve matured. I think you’re 39, 49, I’ll turn the question – are you a better reporter right now than you were 10 years ago?”

“Some people question that,” Morris replied.

“I think we all mature,” Swinney said. “I was a better player as a senior than a freshman, a better student my senior year of college (at Alabama) than my freshman year, a better husband after 19 years of marriage than my first years in marriage, a better Christian than I was when I first decided that was the path I wanted to go.

“I’m a better father 14 years into being a dad than when (oldest son) Will showed up. I didn’t have a clue. I’m a much better, much more mature coach. Just because of experience. I’ve had to handle a lot of things, learn, grow. I’ve worked hard at it. I’m studying, always trying to improve, never satisfied.”

Talking turtles: Maryland’s defection from the ACC to the Big 10 Monday came suddenly; the Terrapins and Rutgers will join the Big 10 to give the now-14-team league an East Coast presence.

“It caught me off guard,” Swinney said. “I was a little surprised, but it’s not a shocker. In college football, who knows anymore?”

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Comments » 8

PtownDawg writes:

Greg, where is the comment about the BCS?

TiberBoy23663 writes:

We are going to have to add teams like Texas or Michigan to the schedule and drop some of the freebies to get where we want to be.

TheRealistTruth writes:

You can't blame Clemson for the downfall of the ACC this year, but you have to set that as the main reason Clemson is not respected in the ACC. They have ZERO wins against ranked opponents. Yes, they are putting up points, but rankings don't look at points. It looks at who you play, whether they are ranked and how good they are. Aside from FSU and Clemson, the ACC is AWFUL.

Those 3 two loss teams have had wins against ranked opponents and they've played some good teams. Rankings aside, look at their opponents combined records.

LSU 72 - 49
Stanford 70-51
Texas A&M 75-46

Then look at FSU & Clemson

Florida State 53-67
Clemson 59-63

Clemson is where they should be. Their loss came against FSU who lost to a current 6-5 NC State team. If FSU didn't lose to NC State, Clemson would be higher. But they're not and their lack of good opponents is to blame.

GregWallace (staff) writes:

Sorry - posting error on my part. Story is correct now. My fault. Carry on.

omnipotent1 writes:

in response to jdl031287#282299:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Do you really think the sec will schedule anything but patsies ooc?

TigerNE writes:

My view is that the ACC has a decent football future. I'll take Pitt and to a lesser degree Syracuse any day over MD. For starters Pitt has made huge investments in facilities, and has the ability to improve recruiting.

There is little to stop FSU, Clemson, VT, and Miami from routinely being the power (with Miami getting past their current problems). Not far behind, UNC and GT (if they don't move) can return to being very competitive. Time will tell for Pitt. This year is a fluke. The ACC has every chance of being in the top three or four conferences. It will never be an SEC...

CUNo1Fan writes:

in response to omnipotent1:

Do you really think the sec will schedule anything but patsies ooc?

The SEC doesn't have to, they are able to get by on the perceived strength of thier conference whereas Clemson and FSU are hurt by the preceived SOS of thiers. While I don't like it, the SEC wins the majority of thier big OCC games and thier Bowl Games which showcases their best against the best of the other conferences. Because they win the majority of those games which has also led to 6 straight NC, they are perceived as the best conference with the strongest teams overall. As long as it remains that way, they will be able to schedule very few tough out of conference games and not be hurt by it. Clemson and FSU cannot do that.

Clemson tried to up its' SOS the last several years by having a SEC opponenet to open the season and finishing with a our rival from the SEC to offset some of the weakness of the ACC. It simply didn't work this year bk Auburn is the worse they have been in my lifetime. It also doesn't help that the other traditionally strong ACC teams are down this year as well, that hurts the perception and SOS even more.

The only way this changes is we (Clemson, FSU, and the rest of the ACC) must step up and win the majority of our OCC games against the major opponents we play and also step up and start winning the majority of the Bowl Games we go to. Do that and the perception changes and the ACC will get more respect in the rankings.

TheRealistTruth writes:

in response to CUNo1Fan:

The SEC doesn't have to, they are able to get by on the perceived strength of thier conference whereas Clemson and FSU are hurt by the preceived SOS of thiers. While I don't like it, the SEC wins the majority of thier big OCC games and thier Bowl Games which showcases their best against the best of the other conferences. Because they win the majority of those games which has also led to 6 straight NC, they are perceived as the best conference with the strongest teams overall. As long as it remains that way, they will be able to schedule very few tough out of conference games and not be hurt by it. Clemson and FSU cannot do that.

Clemson tried to up its' SOS the last several years by having a SEC opponenet to open the season and finishing with a our rival from the SEC to offset some of the weakness of the ACC. It simply didn't work this year bk Auburn is the worse they have been in my lifetime. It also doesn't help that the other traditionally strong ACC teams are down this year as well, that hurts the perception and SOS even more.

The only way this changes is we (Clemson, FSU, and the rest of the ACC) must step up and win the majority of our OCC games against the major opponents we play and also step up and start winning the majority of the Bowl Games we go to. Do that and the perception changes and the ACC will get more respect in the rankings.

Solid post. The ACC being down is killing Clemson and Florida State. Your top two teams are 10-1 and the others include a 7-4 team and the rest are 6-5 and below. If a couple of the Coastal teams were 9-2 or 8-3, respect would be given a little more. But a 6-5 Georgia Tech team has a chance to win the conference's championship. It's not the BCS that is "ridiculous". It's the ACC.

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