As long as Clemson continues to win, it will make the College Football Playoff for a record sixth straight year.
The Tigers, who visit Virginia Tech this Saturday with a chance to clinch a spot in the ACC Championship Game, are ranked No. 3 for a second straight week in the College Football Playoff Committee’s Top 25 Ranking. Alabama is No. 1, followed by Notre Dame at No. 2, Clemson at No. 3 and then Ohio State at No. 4. Texas A&M and Florida round out the top 6.
“Clemson is another powerful team, 8-1. Their only loss came to Notre Dame in a game in which they were without their quarterback,” CFP Committee Chairman Gary Barta said during a conference call with the media on Tuesday night. “The much-anticipated Trevor Lawrence returned. He came back and with his leadership the team continued to impress.”
Though the Tigers (8-1, 7-1 ACC) appear to have a clean path to the CFP should it qualify and then win the ACC Championship Game against Notre Dame, things are not so clear for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes have played just four games to this point and Barta said there was a spirited debate on who should be ranked No. 4, the Buckeyes, or Texas A&M.
“This year it is fair to say there are additional challenges. There is a discrepancy sometimes between a team that has played eight or nine games and a team that has played three or four games,” Barta said. “Frankly, it is a problem. It is a problem that is nobody’s fault. It was created by the pandemic.
“But the bottom line is, the greater body of work that a team brings to the committee, the more the committee has to evaluate. That is why we spend so much time evaluating every team 1-25.”
Though the committee has already come and said it will not make teams play a minimum amount of games, Barta did indicate the discrepancy between a team, such as Clemson, already playing nine games and Ohio State has to be evaluated fairly by the committee.
This puts in the question if the Buckeyes will be able to hold off a Texas A&M for the No. 4 spot, especially if one or both of its final regular season games are cancelled. If that happens, the Buckeyes will be ineligible for the Big Ten Championship Game, which will be another piece of data the committee will not have to help evaluate the Buckeyes.
“This week, because we are at another week, there are teams that have added to their resume, but there are some teams that did not add, we talked more about that,” Barta said. “We don’t have a set number, but it is challenge and a problem to evaluate a team that has played three games and try to evaluate them side-by-side with a team that has played nine games.
“We are doing it, and it is doable, but it clearly becomes one of the pieces of the puzzle and one of the evaluation criteria as we look at it so far, and I am sure as we go forward.”
College Football Playoff Top 25
1 Alabama 8-0
2 Notre Dame 9-0
3 Clemson 8-1
4 Ohio State 4-0
5 Texas A&M 6-1
6 Florida 7-1
7 Cincinnati 8-0
8 Georgia 6-2
9 Iowa State 7-2
10 Miami (FL) 7-1
11 Oklahoma 6-2
12 Indiana 5-1
13 BYU 9-0
14 Northwestern 5-1
15 Oklahoma State 6-2
16 Wisconsin 2-1
17 North Carolina 6-3
18 Coastal Carolina 9-0
19 Iowa 4-2
20 USC 3-0
21 Marshall 7-0
22 Washington 3-0
23 Oregon 3-1
24 Tulsa 5-1
25 Louisiana 8-1
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