CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Clemson looks to make its first Playoff since 2020.
Clemson looks to make its first Playoff since 2020.

CBS updates Clemson Playoff projection with new CFP format


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We know how the 2024 College Football Playoff format will unfold now, and according to one CBS Sports projection, Clemson's Tigers will be in it.

The CFP voted to formalize a 5+7 model this week for the next two editions of the College Football Playoff, which will likely feature the remaining Power conferences (SEC/B1G/ACC/Big 12) and one Group of 5 league getting a single automatic bid and then seven at-large bids to fill out the field.

In that conference champions field, the top four will occupy the top four seeds and get a bye into the next round, starting at neutral site bowl locations. The first round with seeds 5-12 will begin on the home field of the higher-seeded teams.

Teams such as Notre Dame, Washington State and Oregon State will have to get an at-large bid to make the Playoff.

CBS Sports' projection has Clemson as the third-highest-ranked conference champion and, therefore, the 3-seed, facing the winner between 6-seed Texas and 11-seed Ole Miss. The other top-four seeds are Georgia, Ohio State and Utah (new to the Big 12).

"One of the big questions fans need answered in the 12-team format is how conference champions might jump up from lower spots in the overall rankings to claim a top four seed," said CBS' Chip Patterson. "I've got the Tigers close to the top 12 in my way-too-early rankings, but among projected conference champions they are the third-highest team and therefore get to turn what might be a No. 12 ranking into the No. 3 seed in the bracket. Clemson hit on a few game-changers in the 2023 recruiting cycle that have the Tigers' defense looking like the best in the ACC. With Year 2 of the Cade Klubnik-Garrett Riley relationship ahead, I'm expecting some steps forward on offense as well."

Clemson last made the CFP in 2020 as the ACC champion after beating Notre Dame in a rematch in the ACC Championship Game (Notre Dame's one year in ACC play due to COVID changes to the sport). In this format, Clemson's 2022 team would have made an expanded CFP as well as, qualifying both an ACC champ and ranked high enough for an at-large bid (No. 7 in the final rankings).

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