GameDay analysts differ on Clemson as top-4 team


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Desmond Howard has Clemson outside of his top-4 teams through six weeks. (USA TODAY Sports-Brad Mills)
Desmond Howard has Clemson outside of his top-4 teams through six weeks. (USA TODAY Sports-Brad Mills)

ESPN’s College GameDay caught some flack from Clemson fans - and Clemson coaches - after some choice words about the Tiger offense on Saturday.

Two from that crew differ on whether Clemson is a College Football Playoff team at this point.

Desmond Howard, who labeled Clemson a “finesse” offense on Saturday before its nearly 500 rushing yards versus Wake Forest, unveiled a top-four of Alabama, then Notre Dame, Ohio State and Georgia on Sunday.

ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, who called the Notre Dame game at Virginia Tech Saturday night, has a top-4 of Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia and then Clemson, after his previous No. 4 Oklahoma fell this week to Texas. He sees Notre Dame with an opportunity to move into the top-4 by winning out, given that Alabama and Georgia cannot each run the table.

“Notre Dame, if they keep winning, will be in the top-4. Anybody’s top-four,” Herbstreit said on the ESPN broadcast. “They will have opportunities to continue to beat some teams and climb the ladder. I think the other teams will have challenges and potentially lose games.”

College Football Final analyst Joey Galloway continues to be the highest on the Tigers at No. 2, while fellow CFF panelist Jesse Palmer slotted Clemson up one spot to No. 3 this week.

Trevor Lawrence after getting knocked out against Syracuse looked really good this weekend,” Palmer said. “63 points at Wake Forest and the way they’re running the football now with Travis Etienne and the way they play defense will make them a favorite to win the remaining games on their schedule...They’ve got a lot of balance.”

“471 rushing yards this week and they’re proving now that they don’t just have to throw it,” Galloway said. “They can run it down your throat and we know how good their defense is.”




Galloway top-5: 1. Alabama 2. Clemson 3. Ohio State 4. Georgia 5. Notre Dame
Palmer top-5: 1. Alabama 2. Ohio State 3. Clemson 4. Notre Dame 5. Georgia

Tags: Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne
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