CHARLOTTE — Dabo Swinney expects the Clemson-Florida State winner on Sept. 23 to represent the ACC in the College Football Playoff.
The Tigers and Seminoles are expected to be the favorites to win the ACC when the media’s preseason selections are released next Tuesday.
“I have been part of a lot of big ones. In the past, this game determined the division,” Swinney said Thursday in Day 3 of the ACC Football Kickoff from the Westin Charlotte in Uptown. “Now it is a game that might determine who is going to the playoff, as it expands and certainly this year as a Final Four or how it is going to shakeout in December in the ACC Championship Game.”
From 2009 through 2020, the winner of the Clemson-Florida State game advanced to the ACC Championship Game as the Atlantic Division’s representative. From 2011-’20, either Clemson or Florida State won the ACC.
Clemson, who has recorded 12 straight 10-win seasons, continues to be the class of the conference, while its biggest rival in the league appears poised to regain its spot alongside the Tigers.
“They have a bunch of great football players and Mike has done a great job,” Swinney said. “I love their quarterback. First of all, he is a great kid, and he is an amazing player. You saw that last year, and we had a pretty good lead on them in the fourth quarter. That is a reflection of their belief of what they are doing and what they are.
“This kid does not quit. The next thing you know, it is coming down to an onside kick. It is going to be a big battle for sure.”
Last year, Florida State finished the year with six straight wins as part of a 10-3 season. A lot of people feel the Seminoles are the team to beat in the ACC this year, especially with Jordan Travis returning at quarterback.
“I don’t know if it is good for Clemson, but it is definitely good for the ACC,” Swinney said. “Mike (Norvell) has done an amazing job. He really has. They have done a great job. You could kind of see it coming with the progress and with the great job they have done putting a roster together. They have been trying to build that roster since he has got there.”
Having FSU back in the top 10 and contending for ACC Championships is a plus for a league that has taken a hit nationally, from a perspective standpoint, with Clemson failing to make the CFP the last two years.
“I think it is good anytime, whether it is Florida State or whoever. There are a lot of great coaches and a lot of great players in this league,” Swinney said. “It is a talented league top to bottom. There is no disputing that. I know there are people who do not want to talk about that, but in the NFL our league is the second most and you go all the way back to 2005, 2013, etc. You can go all the way back. There are a lot of great players and a lot of great coaches who do not get the credit they deserve.”
With talking season over, Clemson now gets set for the start of fall camp, which begins on Aug. 4 in Clemson.
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