Dabo Swinney says the next game is always the most important game of the season.
That's certainly true in the high-stakes, grab-your-chance-now world of college football, where treading water and then slipping into the post-season looking for redemption is not an option.
Weekly pressure to win is what sets college football apart, Swinney said this week.
"I've never been a playoff guy, and I know there are a lot of coaches out there who'd like to go to an NFL-style playoff," said Swinney. "I think that would change the mentality: 'Oh well, we lost a game, we'll get next week - we're just trying to get into the playoffs.'
"I hate that. I do. As opposed to 'every game matters.'"
On the other hand, Swinney says he likes the four-team College Football Playoff, which will go into effect in 2014.
"I do like the four-team deal," he said. "I think that's going to make a good situation even better - make it more fun and add a little more juice to it, without extending the season way out.
"I love the fact that every game counts. There's no 'we can lose another one and still get into the playoffs, and once we get in the playoffs, we'll really play.' I don't like that."
Swinney Says Terps' QB Caleb Rowe No Surprise: When Swinney saw Caleb Rowe at his camp two summers ago, he knew the Greer, S.C. High quarterback was a top-level talent.
The pursuit of Chad Kelly and scholarship limitations sent Clemson in another direction, and Rowe signed with Maryland. He could find himself facing the Tigers on Saturday, as the Terps sort out their quarterback situation.
Rowe filled in capably for C.J. Brown during the Terps' victory over Virginia two weeks ago, and then came on in the Wake Forest game after Brown showed signs of being fully recovered from the concussion he suffered against Florida State.
"I was very impressed with him when we had him in camp," said Swinney. "We knew he was a Division 1 guy. I thought he was very smart, very accurate, and threw a nice ball."
At the time, Clemson had Kelly committed for the lone quarterback slot available in the recruiting class.
”Unfortunately, that’s just part of the recruiting deal," Swinney said. "There are a lot of guys you evaluate that you like, a lot of guys that you like and would love to have. But you only have so many scholarships and so many numbers, and you have to make it all work. We felt like Chad was the best out there."