On ESPN’s Championship Drive show Sunday, ESPN personalities Heather Dinich, Jim Mora and Jonathan Vilma gave their takes on whether Clemson or LSU should be No. 2, behind Alabama, in the first College Football Playoff rankings.
The initial CFP rankings will be released at 7 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN.
Dinich: “They don’t just look at resume. A lot of people on my Twitter feed are saying Alabama, what are they doing to deserve No. 1? Well they’re also looking at the fact that Alabama is No. 1 in offensive efficiency, No. 2 in defensive efficiency, and Clemson is right there on defense. They’re so good up front. Their past two games against Florida State and NC State, they dominated. But, LSU, when you go back and look at that resume, it’s not all just about top 25 opponents. It’s about quality opponents, teams with winning records, and I think LSU at least makes the case. Now look, I said this morning on SportsCenter that I think Clemson’s going to be No. 2 in the committee’s eyes because of the things I mentioned. But I think there’s going to be a good debate in that room, at least.”
Mora: “The difference for me is quarterback. Alabama has two quarterbacks, Clemson has a young Trevor Lawrence who’s not a young player anymore – he’s grown up this year. He is showing great signs of maturity, and you cannot discount that. I don’t see LSU with a big-time quarterback who can just win the game by himself.”
Vilma: “I agree, and to be honest, I’d be very disappointed if they had a major discussion with LSU No. 2 and Clemson No. 3 or No. 4. And the reason why is because the committee was put in place to watch these games and then discuss and look at what’s going on because no one trusted the computer system, right? So if we’re going to put up a bunch of stats, then we might as well go back to BCS. The College Football Playoff Committee was designed to have people watch the games and then stats verify what they are seeing on TV, and then that’s a discussion. And what I see is Clemson is the clear-cut No. 2 because they run the ball, they can pass the ball, they have the best defense. And yes, LSU has played a very tough schedule, but when I watch Clemson they’re taking care of business.”