Wins over Auburn, Troy bolstering Clemson's strength of schedule


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Wayne Gallman celebrates against Auburn earlier this season
Wayne Gallman celebrates against Auburn earlier this season

The national college football media shook their heads when Clemson recorded narrow, early-season wins over Auburn and Troy, but those two wins are part of the reason that Clemson's strength of schedule currently sits third nationally.

Clemson defeated Auburn 19-13 to open the season, and Tigers defeated Troy 30-24 in the home opener a week later. At the time, the wins were considered underwhelming, but Troy hasn't lost since that game and sits at 6-1. Auburn is 5-2, including wins over LSU and Arkansas, and is currently ranked 17th in the country.

The College Football Playoff Committee uses SOS as one of their criteria, and Clemson benefitted from wins over Appalachian St. and Notre Dame last season in advancing to the College Football Playoff. Both Auburn and Troy could finish with ten wins this season, and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney told the media on Wednesday that Clemson knows the importance of strength of schedule.

“Strength of schedule is important when it comes to the committee and their evaluation of playoff contending teams," Swinney said Wednesday. "That is especially the case in the non-conference. Our wins against Auburn and Troy look better and better as the season goes on. We beat two good football teams those first two weeks. So far this year, our strength of schedule is third in the nation and wins over Auburn and Troy have certainly contributed to that."

Clemson has a chance to improve its SOS this weekend - the Tigers travel to 12th-ranked Florida St. for a primetime matchup against the 'Noles. However, the schedule eases up after the Florida St. game with conference games against Syracuse, Pitt and Wake Forest and the rivalry game against South Carolina. Those teams are a combined 17-12.

ESPN’s exclusive reveal of the College Football Playoff selection committee’s weekly rankings returns during College Football Playoff: Top 25 on Tuesday, Nov. 1, the start of a five-week run on consecutive Tuesdays through Nov. 29.

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