Dabo Swinney was on a big stage Thursday night in Atlanta at the College Football Hall of Fame. Swinney took part in a joint news conference with Alabama's Nick Saban along with Kirby Smart and Georgia and Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley.

Swinney took note of the fact that it's been a while since the Tigers played in the Big Easy.

"We're excited," Swinney said.

"I mean, I haven't been to the Sugar Bowl in 25 years. Clemson hasn't been in 59 years. What a great opportunity for our team."

This will mark the third straight year the Tigers and Crimson Tide are meeting in the playoffs, although this Sugar Bowl matchup is for the right to play for a national title.

"Obviously, I can't seem to get away from these guys, as hard as I try," Swinney joked.

"Man, it's not an easy task to play Alabama. I don't care where you put them, they've had the best team for a long time. We know it's been two great games. I don't have any doubt this one will be another great matchup."

Swinney admitted in his final coaches poll, he put Ohio State ahead of Alabama.

"3:00 in the morning on a bus ride home from Charlotte, a moment of insanity, complete insanity," Swinney said with a smile.

"No, just coming home. Literally, it was 3:00 in the morning. 'Man, I got to this poll'. Looking at it, you know, they won 11 games. Alabama won 11 games. They won the Big 10 Championship. Obviously, the committee has a lot of things to look at, a lot of data. They're going to pick the four best teams however they see it."