Clemson enters College Football Playoff top-four


by - Staff Writer -
Clemson moved back into the top-four after a 24-ranking streak was snapped last week.
Clemson moved back into the top-four after a 24-ranking streak was snapped last week.

Clemson’s stay outside of the College Football Playoff committee top-four lasted all of a week.

Dabo Swinney’s Tigers had spent 24-straight weeks inside the CFP top-four up to last week’s No. 5 ranking, but with both No. 3 Alabama and No. 4 Penn State going down over the weekend, Clemson moved up to No. 3. LSU leads the new CFP poll, followed by Ohio State and then Georgia is No. 4, and Alabama, No. 5.

"There is no reasonable way Clemson could stumble before the Playoff," ESPN's Rece Davis said during the ranking unveiling show.

Minnesota made the largest jump into the top-10 in the CFP era, going up nine spots to No. 8 after downing Penn State (which dropped to No. 9). Fellow unbeaten Baylor actually dropped a spot to No. 13 despite moving to 9-0.

Clemson has the No. 2 ranking in ESPN’s Football Power Index — the third-best mark in their ‘game control’ and fifth-best in their strength of record metrics. Ohio State paces the FPI with a No. 1 rank in game control and No. 2 in strength of record, trailed by LSU (No. 1 SOR; No. 2 GC), Baylor (No. 3 SOR/No. 19 GC), Minnesota (No. 4 SOR/No. 13 GC), Oregon (No. 8 SOR/No. 8 GC), Alabama (No. 10 SOR/No. 5 GC), Georgia (No. 11 SOR/No. 8 GC) and Oklahoma (No. 15 SOR/No. 6 GC).

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

ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight gave Clemson the best chance to make the Playoff going into the second CFP rankings (87 percent), followed by Ohio State (69), LSU (69), Oklahoma (35), Georgia (33), Oregon (32), Utah (19), Baylor (17), Penn State (12) and Alabama (11). The site’s ‘Playoff Predictor’ had the numbers with Ohio State leading (89), then LSU (87), Clemson (82), Alabama (40), Oregon (32), Georgia (25), Oklahoma (11) and Penn State (11).

The Tigers are given a Power 5 conference-leading 77 percent shot to win out by 538, ahead of Alabama (52), Ohio State (51), LSU (46), Oregon (46) Oklahoma (31), Utah (31), Wisconsin (22), Georgia (19), Penn State (13), Baylor (10) and Minnesota (5) among contenders.

Clemson has spent the second-most weeks in the CFP top-5 rankings all-time (26), only trailing Alabama (32) since its 2014 inception. Clemson, Alabama and Ohio State are the only three teams to be in each of the 33 CFP Top 25 rankings.

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

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.

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.

CFP Top 25 - 11/12

1. LSU

2. Ohio State

3. Clemson

4. Georgia

5. Alabama

6. Oregon

7. Utah

8. Minnesota

9. Penn State

10. Oklahoma

11. Florida

12. Auburn

13. Baylor

14. Wisconsin

15. Michigan

16. Notre Dame

17. Cincinnati

18. Memphis

19. Texas

20. Iowa

21. Boise State

22. Oklahoma State

23. Navy

24. Kansas State

25. Appalachian State

11/5 rankings

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