If you don’t think Clemson feels disrespected, then you have not heard the latest comments from linebacker Isaiah Simmons.
Clemson’s All-American candidate let his feelings be known following the Tigers’ 59-14 win over Wofford Saturday at Memorial Stadium. He thinks no one wants the Tigers to be in the College Football Playoff.
“Each week is like a 1-0 mentality, not like it isn’t (early) in the season, but there is less room for error,” he said. “A lot of the mistakes that we made early in the season can get us beat now, and it kind of looks like everybody does not want us to be in (the College Football Playoff), so we all know we just have to come out and prove things each week.”
He might have a point.
The Tigers (9-0) are the first preseason No. 1 team to drop to No. 4 in the Associated Press Poll without losing a game since 1977. They have also fallen in the Coaches Poll, dropping to No. 3, despite winning eight of their nine games by at least 14 points.
Despite beating Wofford by 45 points on Saturday, Clemson even lost first place votes and points in the Coaches Poll on Sunday to idle teams LSU, Alabama and Ohio State.
Seven of the Tigers’ nine wins have been by 31 or more points, including three victories by 42 or more points. Clemson’s average margin of victory is 32.6 points.
If you want to compare that to Alabama, who has played a similar strength of schedule to this point, the Crimson Tide has won its eight games by an average margin of 33.4 points.
Like Alabama’s offense, Clemson’s defense has been just as dominant. The Tigers rank first in defensive efficiency and are the only team in the country to hold each of its first nine opponents to less than 300 yards of offense, which tied the 1979 unit as the longest in school history.
“I don’t know. I feel like we have not got (respect) up to this point,” Simmons said. “So, I don’t know what will really change that. So, we are just trying not to give them a choice. They’re going to have to put us in.”
ESPN’s Heather Dinich, who covers the CFP exclusively, believes the committee has taken notice of the Tigers’ dominance on defense.
“If we are going to talk about surprises in this first ranking, Clemson could be ranked higher than everybody thinks,” she said. “That is because they are number one in defensive efficiency and number seven in offensive efficiency.
“Clemson is one of the most interesting teams that is going to be debated, not just with Alabama, but also with Penn State.”
The Tigers currently rank fourth in total defense (247.2) and sixth in scoring defense (12.2) nationally.