The Path to the College Football Playoff: Go unbeaten, and it’s in. There will be some who’ll scream about a mediocre schedule and a bad ACC, but there’s a win at Texas A&M. Go 13-0, and Clemson is in without any hesitation. One loss? Then it gets tricky. If they win the ACC title at 11-1, they’ll need Notre Dame to lose once, and it’ll be a huge help if the SEC Championship loser has a loss.
What Will Happen: Clemson will lose once, but so will Notre Dame. The Tigers will win the ACC title, the Big 12 champ will have a loss, and it’ll get in as the No. 4 seed.
NC State (5-0)
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Go 12-0 – the West Virginia game was cancelled thanks to the hurricane – beat Clemson at Clemson, win the ACC title, and get in no matter what … maybe. It would a huge help if Notre Dame loses once, but an unbeaten Power Five champ won’t be left out.
What Will Happen: There will be a misfire. It’ll lose at Clemson, at Syracuse, or against Florida State to ruin the dream, but it’ll still be a great season.
Notre Dame (6-0)
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Lumped in with the ACC teams because of its association with the conference in bowl games, all the Irish have to do is win out, and assume there won’t be three unbeaten Power Five champs along with a viable SEC Championship loser. Does 12-0 Notre Dame get in over – if it happens – 12-1 Clemson or 12-1 Ohio State? Yeah.
What Will Happen: As good as Notre Dame has been, it’ll get its heart broken be Florida State at home, or at USC, or against Syracuse in Yankee Stadium. It’ll get a New Year’s Bowl appearance, but it won’t get into the big fun.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: It’s not a 100% slam dunk that it gets in by winning out and taking the ACC Championship, but it’ll be close. Would the 12-1, ACC title-winning Canes get in over a one-loss Big 12 champ? That would be a fight, but they’d need Notre Dame to lose once along the way, and it would be great if the SEC Championship loser has two losses.
What Will Happen: The Canes will lose again. The LSU loss will be brushed aside if they run the table with a win over Clemson in the ACC title game, but they go on the road for four games in five dates – they’ll lose once more.