Clemson ranked in top-4 of first Playoff rankings


by - Staff Writer -
Clemson looks to return to action for the first time since Nov. 7 on Saturday at home vs. Pitt. (ACC photo)
Clemson looks to return to action for the first time since Nov. 7 on Saturday at home vs. Pitt. (ACC photo)

Leaders from across the country gathered in one room this week to make decisions affecting people nationwide.

In Grapevine, Texas.

Talking college football.

Yes, it’s Playoff rankings time again and Clemson’s Tigers checked in at No. 3 in the first of four scheduled midweek polls before the final rankings on Dec. 20 determining the four teams playing for a national championship.

The Tigers (7-1) were ranked ahead of the 4-0 Ohio State Buckeyes, who are No. 3 in both of the traditional polls. Alabama and Notre Dame are No. 1 and 2 respectively.

"They've (Clemson) really dominated every team that they've played against," CFP chairman and Iowa AD Gary Barta said, "other than the No. 2 team in Notre Dame and they were short (players) -- they didn't have Trevor Lawrence and some of their best defensive players. But they've got a solid win against a top-10-ranked Miami team. At the end of the day, the committee just decided that Clemson deserved that No. 3 spot."

Also out of the ACC, Miami is No. 10 and UNC is 19th.

In the traditional polls, Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Clemson are the top-4 in order, while Texas A&M is No. 5 in the AP and Florida is in fifth with the Coaches. Undefeated non-Power 5 teams Cincinnati and BYU are seventh and eight respectively there.

Teams in the undefeated tier have played anywhere from three games (Oregon) to nine (BYU) as we head into Thanksgiving. Among metrics trying to weigh this uneven season, Alabama leads the ESPN SP+ (29.4), followed by Ohio State (27.2), Clemson (27.1), Wisconsin (23.5) and Notre Dame (22). ESPN’s FPI has the same top-4 but with two-loss Oklahoma as the fifth-best team in the country. The FEI ratings ranks Alabama and Ohio State 1-2 with BYU third, Clemson fourth and Wisconsin fifth.

ESPN noted on its broadcast that no team that's been ranked third in its initial CFP ranking has ended up making the football final four since its installment in 2014.

ESPN rates Clemson with a No. 5 game control ranking and No. 11 strength of record. For comparison, Alabama has No. 2-ranked game control and strength of record marks and Notre Dame is No. 7 and No. 3 there respectively.

This year’s CFP committee is chairman and Iowa AD Gary Barta, Arizona State professor Paola Boivin, Wyoming AD Tom Burman, Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione, former head coach Ken Hatfield, Colorado AD Rick George, former USC player Ronnie Lott, Arkansas State AD Terry Mohajir, former Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno, former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum, Georgia Tech AD Todd Stansbury, Florida AD Scott Stricklin, former Penn State player John Urschel.

CFP Rankings - 11/24

1. Alabama

2. Notre Dame

3. Clemson

4. Ohio State

5. Texas A&M

6. Florida

7. Cincinnati

8. Northwestern

9. Georgia

10. Miami

11. Oklahoma

12. Indiana

13. Iowa State

14. BYU

15. Oregon

16. Wisconsin

17. Texas

18. Southern Cal

19. UNC

20. Coastal Carolina

21. Marshall

22. Auburn

23. Oklahoma State

24. Iowa

25. Tulsa

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