Clemson

Ohio State tops Opening Playoff Rankings; Clemson #5

The first set of playoff rankings were released last night, and of course, they came with some controversy.

To little surprise, the Ohio State Buckeyes topped the polls at number one. In our Fan-I 15, we have them at three. The Buckeyes have been the most consistent team in college football. The defense is impregnable, led by potential number one pick in the upcoming NFL draft Chase Young. They've only allowed more than 10 points in once against Florida Atlantic in the season opener. Justin Fields is proving why he should have been the starter at UGA, leading the Buckeyes with 33 total touchdowns, destined to be a Heisman Candidate at season end. No one can argue why the Buckeyes are #1.

Next, you have LSU and Alabama at two and three. The SEC powerhouses will meet this Saturday in one of the most anticipated games of the season. LSU's new passing attack led by Joe Burrow makes the Tigers a much different team than what Nick Saban and Roll Tide are used to seeing. Nonetheless, both sides are worthy of being in the top four, but after this weekend, one is undoubtedly going to fall out.

And here is where the controversy comes into play. Penn State is ahead of the defending champs, Clemson. The Nittany Lions are 8-0, with two wins over ranked opponents (Iowa & Michigan). Those two wins seem to be what gave them the edge over Clemson but appear to be a stretch from my point of view since both wins were decided by one possession. I credit the Nittany Lions for putting themselves in a situation to be considered one of the best teams in college football despite having a young, less experienced unit.

Placing them above the Champs is where the train stops.

Clemson hasn't lost a game since October 13th, 2017. I understand the point of the committee and playoff system is to pick the best teams based on their current performance and not resume, but Clemson has not shown signs they are not worthy of defending their title. In their nine wins, only one game has been decided by one possession. That near-upset came against a motivated North Carolina team at home coached by Hall of Famer, Mack Brown. A tough game for any team.

Clemson will have to run the table in order to claim a seat in the top four. The committee has made it clear, they are leaving the Tigers little room for error. Luckily, all four teams will match up against another top-four squad before the end of the season, LSU-Bama this weekend and Penn State-Ohio State November 23rd.

Behind Clemson are Georgia, Oregon, and Utah to round out the top eight. Out of the three, UGA has the best chance to creep into the top four with one more big game against Auburn still on the schedule.

Baylor and Minnesota are the only two undefeated teams outside of the top ten. Minnesota will have a chance this weekend to shake up the rankings if they can defeat Penn State at home. Baylor has an active schedule to end the season headlined by 9th ranked Oklahoma at home, followed by Texas. A strong showing against those two could put them closer to the top four.

The committee will submit four more rankings, the final rankings dropping December 4th after the conference championship games.

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