What I’m wondering while waiting for this weekend’s games…
Christmas came early for Clemson coach Dabo Swinney – on Tuesday, specifically – when the initial College Football Playoff rankings were released.
Last year’s national champions, who own the nation’s No. 3 offense and No. 4 defense, only rated as the nation’s No. 5 team, according to the College Football Playoff selection committee.
Last month, I asked Swinney about the team’s different mindset. Now that Clemson has won two of the last three national championships, the Tigers had become the “mountain” of college football.
He laughed at the mountain comparison. “We ain’t the mountain, we’re a little mole hill.”
Swinney loves for his team to play with a chip on its shoulder – whether it’s real or manufactured – and he will play up this No. 5 ranking chip like its Mount Everest.
While Swinney plays the disrespect card to his team, should the Tigers actually be concerned about their No. 5 ranking? Absolutely not.
It’s very simple for the 9-0 Tigers: Win (four more games) and they’re in the College Football Playoff. Come up with any scenario under the sun that you’d like and there is no way a 13-0 Clemson team will not be in the College Football Playoff.
Two other undefeated teams outside the top four – No. 12 Baylor and No. 17 Minnesota – can also work their way into the College Football Playoff by winning out.
Baylor, which already has wins against two ranked teams (No. 16 Kansas State and No. 23 Oklahoma State), would have to beat at least another ranked team (No. 9 Oklahoma) to get to the Big 12 title game and then win what probably would be a rematch with OU.
For Minnesota, the Golden Gophers must face three ranked opponents in their final four games starting Saturday against No. 4 Penn State. Minnesota also plays No. 18 Iowa and No. 13 Wisconsin. Win all those and the Gophers would likely play No. 1 Ohio State for the Big Ten title and a berth in the playoff.
If Baylor and Minnesota feel disrespected by their rankings, they can change that by winning out because the selection committee will never – ever – exclude a 13-0 Power 5 conference champion from the playoff.
I am slowly climbing out of my sub-.500 canyon and inching closer and closer to .500 after last week’s 4-1 record. Let’s keep it going.
Onto this week’s picks. Odds from @BetOnline_ag:
Army -34.5 vs. UMass
Ole Miss -27.5 vs. New Mexico State
Maryland +43 at Ohio State
BYU -16 vs. Liberty
Texas -7 vs. Kansas State
Lock of the Week: Schlage FE595 Electronic Keypad Lever with Flex Lock
The Tote Board
Last week: 4-1
Year to date: 22-25-1