CFP Path: Does Clemson Need Too Much Help?

Clemson still hasn’t got his fate under control with the college football playoffs, and the Tigers are running out of time to move into a more favorable position.

The playoff committee hasn’t been impressed with Clemson since Notre Dame’s loss, despite two blowout wins over No. 24 Louisville and Miami. The No. 8 Tigers moved up just one spot in this week’s rankings, while Tennessee fell from fifth to 10th place.

Clemson sits behind two SEC teams with back-to-back losses: No. 7 Alabama and No. 5 LSU. With the SEC Tigers just one spot off the top 4, it’s easy to believe that LSU will become the first team with two losses in the CFP when they upset Georgia in next week’s conference title game.

There might even be a way to Alabama yet, but that would require total chaos.

If Clemson wins, including an ACC Championship Game win over North Carolina on Dec. 3, then the Tigers would have a huge data point above the Crimson Tide that would likely result in them finally jumping…at least in theory.

The Tigers were pretty convincing against Miami, while Alabama eliminated FCS opponent Austin Peay in a game that changed nothing for the Crimson Tide.

Meanwhile, LSU was taking care of UAB, so no real data point gain there.

What’s hard to understand about the committee rankings is the common adversary between LSU and Clemson. That’s one of the loose guidelines they say they use. The FSU beat the LSU on a neutral side. Clemson defeated the Seminoles in Tallahassee.

Still, the ACC Tigers are well behind the SEC Tigers, who also lost to Tennessee by 27 points. LSU’s impressive victories are Alabama, which the committee continues to hold in high esteem, and Ole Miss, but that shine is quickly fading from this win over the Rebels.

Clemson has notched wins over FSU and Louisville, while Notre Dame, which beat the Tigers by 21 points, is now in the top 15.

The Irish could really solidify Clemson by giving No. 6 USC their second loss of the season that would all but eliminate the Trojans.

That’s all Clemson has in front of teams outside the top 4. Ohio State or Michigan will suffer a loss in their rivalry showdown this week, and TCU is holding on to that No. 4 spot with Iowa State, which is 1-7 in the Big 12 games this year.

Championship week still holds several keys for the Tigers, but they have South Carolina to deal with first thing Saturday lunchtime.

If Clemson does that and beats UNC, there are likely several scenarios to work through, such as:

Right now, it still feels like too much has to happen to Clemson in a week starting Sunday.

Here are the key games for Clemson hopefuls to keep an eye on during Rivalry Week:

  • NC State in No. 17 North Carolina, Friday at 3:30 p.m
  • Florida, No. 16 FSU, Friday at 7:30 p.m
  • No. 3 Michigan at No. 2 Ohio State, Saturday noon
  • Auburn at #7 Alabma, Saturday at 3:30 p.m
  • No. 4 TCU in the state of Iowa, Saturday at 4 p.m
  • #5 LSU at Texas A&M, Saturday at 7 p.m
  • #15 Notre Dame at #6 USC, Saturday at 7:30 p.m