Not a single win over a team currently ranked. Just four victories over teams above .500, and one is Wofford. A near loss to 4-5 North Carolina.
It scheduled Wofford and Charlotte as part of its non-conference slate. The best win came against mediocre Texas A&M, which is in fourth place in the SEC West.
Does this team belong in the College Football Playoff?
Before you answer, that team is Clemson.
Feel differently now? I thought so.
On merit, the Tigers don’t belong right now. The wins aren’t good enough. Their conference is a mess. Their opponents are a combined 38-40 and their strength of schedule is ranked 64th in the nation according to USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin ratings. According to the ratings, the lone top-40 team Clemson has faced is No. 18 Texas A&M.
But there is history. Dabo Swinney’s program won it all last year. It has become as dominant as Alabama, albeit without the regular-season challenges Alabama has to deal with every fall. It has a roster full of future pros. It will likely go undefeated and does have No. 23 Wake Forest on the schedule.
(For transparency sake, I have Clemson ranked fourth, because I believe it is one of the four best teams in the country for the time being. But playoff selection should be more about the eye test. Georgia was one of the four best teams last year and wasn’t included).
It is the most interesting team in the playoff mix, because of its poor résumé and rich recent history. The Tigers are the team I will be watching the closest when the made-for-television College Football Playoff rankings show kicks off Tuesday night.