Can The ACC Get Two Teams Into The College Football Playoff?
With the Miami win, and with the love given to Clemson, is it possible the ACC could get two teams into the top four?
Really? Can the ACC get two teams into the show?
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Remember this offseason when the ACC couldn’t stop chirping about how it had the best conference in college football?
It was met with a big pile of, “yeah, whatever dude,” but the league did boast the reigning Heisman winner and national champion.
After Florida State got hammered by Alabama to start the season, and South Carolina dropped NC State, Penn State and Oklahoma State blew out Pitt, and Cal beat North Carolina, it looked like all that talk was just a bunch of hoo-ha.
And it was. But now the two stars from this season might just find their way into the College Football Playoff.
The committee loves Clemson. The resume is a wee bit overblown, but beating Louisville on the road was good, handling Virginia Tech in Blacksburg was solid, and now on the schedule appear to be eight wins so far over teams that will probably go bowling. Throw in a ninth if the Tigers beat South Carolina.
And the Tigers beat the team, that beat the team.
It all ties together. September 9th might have been a lifetime ago in the college football world, but Clemson beat Auburn 14-6 with a dominant defensive performance. Now that the SEC Tigers are getting the love after destroying CFP No. 1 Georgia, that win in Death Valley is looking better and better.
And now with Notre Dame and the Pac-12 out of the picture, the path for Clemson is easy. Beat Citadel, beat South Carolina, beat Miami, and in the College Football Playoff for a third year in a row, probably as the No. 2 seed and no worse than third – even though that doesn’t really matter.
But what does the committee do if Miami is 11-0 – remember, it didn’t play Arkansas State on the road because of the Irma issues – and loses to Clemson?
Even if the Hurricanes drop one of their last two games against Virginia or Pitt, they’re in the CFP if they finish 11-1 with an ACC title over Clemson. But if Clemson goes 12-1, and Miami goes 11-1 with that 41-8 domination over CFP No. 3 Notre Dame as the hammer, then this gets interesting.
If Ohio State could get in last year at 11-1 without even winning a division title, then Miami would have its case because of the Notre Dame win, along with the Coastal Division championship.
But really- would the ACC get two teams in over, say, an 11-2 Ohio State that wins the Big Ten championship? Yes.
How about over a 12-1 Wisconsin with a Big Ten title? No – probably no – and definitely not if the Badgers go 13-0.
And if the SEC rises up and Auburn wins the SEC Championship? That becomes a problem if Alabama is 11-1, but the SEC champ is almost certainly in, as is a 12-1 Oklahoma if it wins out.
So if you’re in the ACC offices and you want to see two teams gets in – a first time a league would ever send two – what do you need?
Miami has to annihilate Virginia and Pitt to look the part at 11-0, Clemson has to roundhouse kick South Carolina on the road, and Clemson has to beat Miami in a classic. Then the Tigers are in no matter what, and 11-1 Miami has the cred to be on the doorstep.
It would help if there’s a two-loss Big 12 champion – like a TCU or Oklahoma State – and it would really help if Auburn somehow won the SEC championship, or Alabama just ran the table and pushed Georgia and Auburn out of the mix.
So for all that chest-thumping about ACC greatness this offseason, when it’s all said and done, the league will probably have ten teams going bowling – at least eight – and it’s mid-November and we’re talking about two getting into the CFP.
Something seems to be going right.