Swinney: Fewer teams doesn’t hurt value of title

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8:23 PM ET

    Sam Khan Jr.ESPN Staff Writer

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    • Covers Texas A&M and the SEC.
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    • Joined ESPN in 2012.
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    • Graduate of the University of Houston.

Even though two of the five power conferences won’t be playing football this fall, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he doesn’t believe it will diminish the meaning that comes with a national championship.

Asked on Wednesday about whether the absence of the Big Ten or Pac-12 “damages” the meaning of a title, Swinney said no.

“The four best teams can go play,” Swinney said. “We’ve been one of those four for five years in a row. So, in my opinion, it doesn’t change anything for us. We’re just trying to be the best Clemson we can be. Whoever you play every week, you try to win that game, you try to keep moving forward. We don’t have any control over that stuff. And I certainly don’t judge them in any way. Everybody’s gotta make decisions that they feel is best. If they feel like that’s what best for them, then so be it.”

Swinney said he’s grateful the ACC presidents decided to allow the conference to move forward toward a fall season but doesn’t judge the leagues that have opted not to play. Four FBS conferences — the Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West and Mid-American — have all decided to postpone fall football. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who is a member of the College Football Playoff management committee, said Wednesday that there is a playoff call next week to discuss the recent changes.

“Whoever wins it, wins it. That’s the champ,” Swinney said. “It’s the same way in every sport. … Somebody is gonna win a championship, so maybe it’s a shortened season, maybe it’s not as many teams or whatever. But you best believe whoever wins it is gonna have to earn it. Nobody’s gonna give nothing to nobody, so you can only control what you control. We just hope we can have the opportunity to play.”

Swinney expressed empathy for those coaches and players who won’t get to play this fall. Asked what he thought about the possibility of a spring football season, he was skeptical.

Said Swinney: “Hopefully I don’t have to worry about that, but I think it’d be I think it’d be very difficult.”