Clemson ranked No. 3 in latest College Football Playoff rankings


by - Staff Writer -
Clemson's offense has been rolling lately and has the Tigers in a good spot going into the final stretch. (USA TODAY Sports-Rob Kinnan)
Clemson's offense has been rolling lately and has the Tigers in a good spot going into the final stretch. (USA TODAY Sports-Rob Kinnan)

Clemson is one of three teams to set themselves apart through 12 weeks of football. The same top-three that marked last week’s College Football Playoff poll -- now the only three unbeatens left after the weekend -- stayed in place this week.

LSU stayed on top after giving up 614 yards in a 58-37 win over Ole Miss, Ohio State stayed No. 2 after giving up the most points 2-8 Rutgers had scored on a Power 5 team this year (56-21 win) and Clemson stayed in third place after winning a fourth-straight game by 45 or more points (52-3 over Wake Forest; only the third team in the AP Poll era to accomplish that).

Clemson maintained its No. 2 ranking in ESPN’s Football Power Index this week — with the third-best mark in their ‘game control’ and improving to a fourth-best rank in their strength of record metric. Ohio State paces the FPI with a No. 1 rank in game control and No. 2 in strength of record. LSU is right there metrics-wise (No. 1 SOR; No. 2 GC) in a group of teams that can possibly play their way in with Georgia (No. 3 SOR/No. 6 GC), Alabama (No. 6 SOR/No. 4 GC), Penn State (No. 5 SOR/No. 7 GC), Oregon (No. 8 SOR/No. 9 GC), Oklahoma (No. 11 SOR/No. 8 GC), Utah (No. 10 SOR/No. 10 GC), Baylor (No. 9 SOR/No. 16 GC) and Minnesota (No. 14 SOR/No. 17 GC).

Clemson’s dominance lately has it rated No. 2 in ESPN’s Resume SP+ metric (+3.1), which measures actual performance versus expected performance of the average top-five team, trailing only Ohio State (10.4) and ahead of Alabama (+1.2), LSU (-2.1) and Georgia (-4.3). Per SP+, the Tigers’ schedule ranks 93rd nationally, which lags behind the rest of the top-5 in LSU (15), Ohio State (59), Georgia (24) and Alabama (39).

Two ESPN Playoff projections painted different pictures going into the night’s rankings. FiveThirtyEight gave Clemson the best chance to make the Playoff (90 percent) then LSU (69), Georgia (45), Oklahoma (35), Oregon (34), Utah (27), Alabama (12) and Penn State (12). The site’s Playoff Predictor is trending more toward a two-bid SEC with Ohio State leading (86) then LSU (85), Clemson (84), Alabama (44), Georgia (39), Oregon (28), Oklahoma (11), Penn State (10) and Utah (8).

The Tigers are slotted a Power 5 conference-leading 83 percent shot to win out of top Playoff contenders, by FiveThirtyEight, ahead of Alabama (65), Ohio State (48), LSU (48), Oregon (45) Oklahoma (44), Utah (39), Georgia (35) and Penn State (13).

The Tigers were No. 3 again in both the Coaches and Associated Press polls this week after starting as the preseason No. 1 in each back in August.

Clemson has spent the second-most weeks in the CFP top-5 rankings all-time (27), only trailing Alabama (33) since its 2014 inception. Clemson, Alabama and Ohio State are the only three teams to be in each of the 34 CFP Top 25 rankings.

The Tigers are seeking to be only the second team to start outside the top-4 in the first CFP ranking (No. 5) and go on to win the national championship (Ohio State in 2014, No. 16).

This year’s CFP semifinals will be played on Dec. 28 with times TBA in the Fiesta (Glendale, Az.) and Peach (Atlanta, Ga.) bowls. The National Championship will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana. on Jan. 13.

This year’s CFP committee is Oregon AD Rob Mullens (Committee chair), Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione, former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, former sportswriter Paola Boivin, former coach Ken Hatfield, Robert Morris president Chris Howard, Arkansas State athletic director Terry Mohajir, former USC All-American DB Ronnie Lott, Georgia Tech AD Todd Stansbury, former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno, Iowa AD Gary Barta and Florida AD Scott Stricklin.

CFP Top 25 - 11/19

1. LSU

2. Ohio State

3. Clemson

4. Georgia

5. Alabama

6. Oregon

7. Utah

8. Penn State

9. Oklahoma

10. Minnesota

11. Florida

12. Wisconsin

13. Michigan

14. Baylor

15. Auburn

16. Notre Dame

17. Iowa

18. Memphis

19. Cincinnati

20. Boise St

21. Oklahoma State

22. Iowa State

23. Southern Cal

24. Appalachian State

25. SMU

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