The Path to the College Football Playoff: The ACC might not be any good, but Clemson is doing exactly what it’s supposed to. Peaking at the right time, the Tigers have beaten Wake Forest and NC State by a combined score of 104-10. Win out, get in, be no worse than the No. 2 seed. And best of all, miss Bama, at least until the National Championship.
And now, even if there’s a loss along the way – say, at Boston College or even in the ACC Championship in a strange performance – Clemson is in with a Notre Dame loss and no viable No. 2 option from the SEC.
What Will Happen: The Tigers are rolling. Assuming they keep playing like this, they’re winning the ACC title in a walk. They’ll be No. 3 in the first College Football Playoff rankings next week, but they’ll finish in the top two by winning out.
NC State (5-1)
The Path to the College Football Playoff: The dream isn’t dead, but it’s not in a good mood. The Wolfpack can still do this if they win out and get two ACC losses by Clemson. Going 10-1 with that one loss coming to the Tigers won’t get it done no matter how good they look in the last five games.
What Will Happen: Clemson isn’t losing twice in the ACC with at Florida State, Louisville, at Boston College, and Duke to play.
Notre Dame (7-0)
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Everything keeps falling into place. Does 12-1 Big Ten Champion Ohio State get in over 12-0 Notre Dame? It probably shouldn’t – winning the second-best conference in college football with one loss should mean something – but if it comes down to those two, then yeah. At this point, it’s simple. Go 12-0, get in.
What Will Happen: They’ll get by Navy and be No. 2 in the first round of the College Football Playoff rankings, but they’ll blow it either at Northwestern, at home against Florida State, or at USC. Throw in the game in Yankee Stadium against Syracuse, and four of the last five games are away from South Bend.