The College Football Committee is still not strong on Clemson’s schedule, but the Tigers have impressed them enough to move to No. 3 in this week’s rankings, which were released on Tuesday night.
Clemson jumped up two spots from its No. 5 ranking last week following its convincing 55-10 victory at NC State last Saturday.
LSU, as expected, took over the No. 1 spot from Ohio State, while Clemson is No. 3 and Georgia is No. 4. Alabama slipped to No. 5 after losing to LSU last Saturday. Penn State dropped to No. 9 after losing to No. 8 Minnesota.
“Clemson is also dominant on both sides of the ball,” CFP Committee Chairman Rob Mullens said during his weekly teleconference call. “Although its schedule is not as strong as some others, Clemson is an excellent undefeated team. They’ve gained more than 500 yards of offense in each of their last five games. The committee is impressed with what it sees.”
Here are a few reasons why the committee is impressed with how dominant the Tigers have been. Clemson has held a lead of 14 or more points for two thirds (66.7 percent) of plays this season, a lead of 21 or more points for more than half of the plays (52.7 percent) and a lead of 35 or more points for more than a quarter (28.7 percent) of plays this season.
Clemson (10-0, 7-0 ACC) has dominated the vast majority of its opponents even when accounting for opponent strength. This season, Clemson’s defense is limiting its FBS opponents to 42.0 percent of their season averages in points and 62.5 percent of their season averages in yards. Meanwhile, Clemson’s offensive production would equal 145.1 percent of opponents’ season averages in points allowed and 126.2 percent of their season averages in yards allowed.
However, one metric the CFP Committee is not looking at, despite the narrative that style points don’t matter, is the final score.
“We are not looking at the final score, we are watching the games,” Mullens said. “We understand how the games unfold by watching them. Again, we are fortunate to have resources provided to us by the CFP that allows us to capture these games and watch them in different formats.”
Mullens later said game control is not a factor in their rankings either.
“We don’t look at control,” he said. “Again, we are watching the game. Obviously, we understand [LSU-Alabama game] was played in Tuscaloosa. We are very aware that LSU led from start to finish, but again, we don’t put labels on it. We watch the games for a reason.”
—Clemson Athletic Communications contributed to this story
We are pleased to announce a new partnership with Fanatics. This is great news for Tiger fans as they have the officially licensed Clemson gear.
The Clemson Insider will get a portion of all sales so get ready for another championship season by ordering your Clemson gear today and help support TCI.