Dabo Not A Fan Of Expanded Playoffs: ‘I Don’t Know If There’s 12 Teams Good Enough’

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.


Written by Anthony Farris


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  1. He’s not wrong. Ever since the beginning of the CFP pretty much every year we’ve had 3 teams who really belonged and 1 team that’s just there. With a 12 team CFP we’ll have 3 or maybe on a given year 4 worthy teams and 8 or 9 teams who have no business being there. I mean there’s absolutely no need at all in seeing a 2nd or 3rd ranked OSU , Clemson or Bama playing an 11th or 12th ranked coastal Carolina or Iowa st in a playoff game.

  2. Of course he’s right. The fools, including here at Outkick don’t care about extra games, it’s gambling and TV and page views for them. Heck, with 4 teams the first two games are not always competitive. Injuries, the top teams top players don’t want more college games. Just like the pro players are complaining about it too.

    • So are you saying D 1-AA which produces a ton of Pros and has had a 24 Team playoff system for idk like 20+ years has a significantly higher injury rate and lower quality of play because of a fucking playoff system? You really can’t be that retarded can you?

      • As a parent of both a NCAA D1 athlete and a NCAA D2 athlete, there is a SUBSTANTIAL difference in the two levels – even my D2 kid admits she could never have played at the D1 level (and had D1 offers) – it was just a different level of commitment. As a parent, I could easily see the difference in speed, size, strength, fitness, facilities, technology, and medical staff.

        As for injuries, it’s a different mind-set: my D2 kid said: “no way am I risking a stupid injury. I have a biology lab tomorrow!” Compared to my D1 Athlete who said: “if i get injured, I can take a make-up exam meaning I get an extra few days too study…”

        Trying to equate D1 to D2 is not even possible for me.

    • You’re not wrong. OKTC is good, but it’s also a big pro gambling organization, and they stand to make more money the more games there are, so obviously they’re going to be homers for expanding everything 24/7/365. They don’t necessarily speak for the fans in that area. I couldn’t care less about gambling, so that doesn’t enter into my mind in decision making like some. I like the sport.

  3. I love how readers here that are die hard college football fans and more conservative leaning can call out when corrupt politicans clearly put in place rules and regulations to make it more difficult for americans to be involved in the political process. Yet when the two biggest college football head coaches engage in the EXACT same behavior to limit competition at the highest level of college ball you all simp and shill for them cuz they say teams aren’t good enough. Sheepish Clowns all of you lmao.

  4. Dabo doesn’t want to have to play 2 good teams in back to back weeks, then have to line up and play another one the 3rd week.. He never has to do that in the ACC. He’s not for an extended playoff since it limits his chances to win more-so than the current structure.

    • Yeah, because the top teams earn their way in during the regular season. Making it easier to get in cheapens the great accomplishment of the teams who had great regular seasons to expand, and that’s the entire point. Why bust your butt to go undefeated and win your conference if you can slip in the back door of the playoffs? Why give lesser teams more shots? They didn’t earn it. Every team already has 12 to 13 regular season games to earn a playoff berth.

  5. Bring back the Bowls… Like prior to the “Bowl Coalition”… I loved debating the National Champion – and the mental gymnastics that some school took every year to “claim” a National Title!!

    • I’m with you. I thought the bowl system would be a nice change years ago, but it’s hurting the spirit of the college game, making it more like the pros in the worst ways. A bowl for 99% of teams used to be a huge deal. The goal of every Big Ten and PAC-10 team was to make the Rose Bowl and win the conference championship for example. Now bowls are treated like vacations, a have-to kind of thing, because if you don’t make the playoffs you’re treated like an also-ran who failed. That’s not what college football is about, it’s about school pride, and I’m afraid people have forgotten that chasing $$$. College football looks good on the surface but it’s dying inside in my opinion.

  6. LOL What a tool!! Last year the team Dabo voted #11 (Ohio State) routed Dabo’s team, but the #12 couldn’t win? The man has built a great program but he speaks out of both sides of his mouth and certainly is no one to take seriously.

  7. Completely agree with Dabo. You’re talking about the difference in Alabama and Indiana here. A penalizes the top teams because they proved their résumé during the regular season. These lower seeded teams can get in by the skin of their teeth, some after already being beaten by the higher seeds, which does not seem right. It penalizes top teams, de-incentivizes winning all regular season games and conference titles, drags the season out way too long for a handful of teams placing the best teams’ players at every increasing risk of injury, and further lessens the meaning of bowl games for schools that may never compete for titles. I’m hating this current system more every year because it simply makes the rich richer. Even Saban warned of this early on.

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