After Ohio State beat Clemson 49-28 in the semifinals of the college football match at Allstate Sugar Bowl on Friday, Tigers coach Dabo Sweeney said it was clear the better team won. But that wouldn’t change Sweeney’s opinion of where Buckeyes ranked on his ballot in a US Today Coaches poll.
Sweeney was criticized for being 11th in Ohio to enter the qualifiers, a decision he said he made exclusively because Buckeyes had only played six games, and said after Friday’s loss that he doubted that provided too much motivation.
“I don’t regret any of that, and the polls have nothing to do with the motives,” Sweeney said. Both teams were very excited to play. “
Sweeney reiterated that his ranking was not intended to diminish Ohio’s talent, but rather a decision to place no team less than nine in the top 10.
After the match, Ohio state coach Ryan Day said his team was extremely excited to play, partly because of the classification, but more because of memories of his loss in the play-off to Clemson last year.
“I don’t know if we are more excited about the opportunity to play in a national championship, or to avenge that loss,” Day said.
Day said he had no negative feelings about Sweeney’s rating, and that after Friday’s match, Clemson’s coach told him to “come out and win everything.”
Sweeney played down any notion that Ohio had added motivation to win, saying his team was ready and focused, but simply didn’t perform well against the talented Buckeyes side.
“They are a great team,” Sweeney said. “[The ranking] It has nothing to do with Ohio. I said they were good enough to beat us, good enough to win everything. But I didn’t think anyone who hadn’t played at least nine games, in my poll, I wouldn’t place them in the top ten. So I’m not going to change that just because there’s an opportunity we can play with. So I have no regrets about it. The only thing I regret is not doing well enough to prepare my team. But I don’t regret anything about it at all. “
Sweeney’s higher ranking certainly won’t change the outcome, the end of the tight Ohio state Jeremy Ruckert He said, but it helped make Friday’s dominant performance a little sweeter.
“Anything motivates you, whether it’s what they’re saying or what we’re saying,” said Rockert. “This is the biggest stage in college football. If that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what you’re doing here. We definitely heard what he was saying and used it as a motivator, but the stage, the playoff stage and the chance to move forward, that’s the motivation itself. Now we just have to maintain.” On the continuation of this energy. “