Clemson in Top 5 in Phil Steele's preseason rankings

by - Assoc. Editor -

ESPN's Phil Steele released his annual preseason College Football Top 40 on Tuesday and Clemson was ranked #5 behind only tradition powerhouses Florida State, Alabama, Oklahoma, and LSU.

The following teams were ranked in the Top 40 that Clemson will play this season with Florida State (#1), Louisville (#21), Auburn (#29), and Pittsburgh (#35).

"I was so impressed with Clemson's postseason performances that I made coach Dabo Swinney my 2015 coach of the year," Steele said. "I have picked Deshaun Watson as my favorite to win the Heisman. The Tigers face only five teams that made it to bowls last year -- overall, I have Clemson's schedule rated as the No. 61 toughest in the country. The Tigers have a great chance at making the playoffs again with their in-season playoff game most likely Oct. 29 at Florida State. The Tigers had just three starters back on defense last year and still allowed just 21.7 ppg. They have all four back this year. Their offense is one of the best in the country. The Tigers are a legitimate CFP title contender again this year."

The full Top 40 rankings according to Phil Steele were Florida State, Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, Clemson, Ohio State, Tennessee, Washington, Notre Dame, Stanford, TCU, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, UCLA, Boise State, Ole Miss, Baylor, Miami, Houston, Louisville, Nebraska, Georgia, Texas, USC, Oregon, North Carolina, San Diego State, Auburn, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, South Florida, Penn State, Florida, Pittsburgh, Northwestern, Air Force, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, and Utah.

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