Acknowledging the work ahead, Dabo Swinney promised a party in Death Valley with free pizza for the final College Football Playoffs poll.
Swinney said he did not care what the first ranking Tuesday night might yield for undefeated and nationally ranked Clemson, projected by many to be No. 1 in the committee’s first top 25.
“It’s so irrelevant,” he said during his weekly media briefing. Clemson plays Florida State on Saturday with a chance to secure the ACC Atlantic Division championship, so Swinney feels it’s presumptuous to think beyond this game. “If we want an opportunity to do that we’ve got to win this game.
“You’ve got to earn your way there. You don’t get any passes, so it has nothing to do with where we are right now.
“The only poll that we’re excited about is Dec. 6, and I promise you we’ll have the biggest poll party you’ve seen. We’ll open up Death Valley and serve pizza to everybody. That’ll be a time to celebrate a poll. Until then it doesn’t matter.”
As painful as losing last season at Tallahassee might have felt at the moment, Swinney said they all hurt.
“Those things kind of stick in your mind,” he said. “That was definitely a tough locker room.”
Swinney pointed out that since that game Clemson has won 17 of 18 including the last 11 straight.
“Life is how your respond,” he said. “Yeah, it was a tough time. Move on to the next one.”