College Football Playoff Committee Chairman Gary Barta said Sunday afternoon the committee never considered No. 2 Clemson for the top spot in the ranking despite the Tigers’ 34-10 victory over No. 4 Notre Dame in Saturday’s ACC Championship Game.
Though Clemson did have one loss and Alabama was undefeated, the Tigers one loss came at Notre Dame when quarterback Trevor Lawrence could not play due to COVID-19 protocols. Clemson was also without defensive tackle Tyler Davis, middle linebacker James Skalski and strongside backer Mike Jones because of injuries.
“It was noted in that game and going back to that game, as I am sure can recall, it was an exciting game that went into overtime,” Barta said. “Trevor Lawrence’s backup played extremely well, and Notre Dame was able to come away with the win against a very good football team.
“This week in the championship game last night, Trevor Lawrence was back and so were some of the defensive players that were out and that was noted and evaluated. But beyond that, it is noted, it is evaluated, and it is included in the evaluation.”
But without directly saying it, the Trevor Lawrence factor was not enough for the committee to even consider Clemson for the top spot. Barta was asked was Clemson even considered for the No. 1 ranking.
“The answer is no,” he said. “From the beginning, looking at Alabama and their resume, they beat three top 25 teams and dominated in every game. Clemson has had a terrific season, but Alabama is number one.”
And though Alabama has dominant for much of the season. The Crimson Tide did struggle to beat Ole Miss on Oct. 10 when it gave up 647 total yards to the Rebels. On Saturday, they gave up 408 passing yards to Florida in a 52-46 win in the SEC Championship Game.
“When you watch Alabama, they dominate in every game that they play,” Barta said.
Though Bama did win its 11 games by an average margin of 30.5 points, Clemson was 9-0 with Trevor Lawrence in the lineup and won those nine games by an average margin of 33.2 points per game and one of those wins was a 24-point win over then No. 2 Notre Dame on Saturday.
Clemson will play Ohio State, who is ranked No. 3, in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.
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