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#2017CFB: Clemson Climbs To No. 2

Can the Tigers make it three straight trips to the College Football Playoffs?

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Clemson University’s defending national championship football team has plenty of hurdles to overcome if it wishes to make a third consecutive trip to the College Football Playoffs.  Take next week, when its stalwart defense goes head-to-head against returning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and the No. 14 Louisville Cardinals.

Jackson torched the Tigers for 295 passing yards and another 162 yards on the ground in last year’s game, but Clemson was able to answer every time thanks to its potent array of offensive weapons including future first round NFL draft picks Mike Williams and Deshaun Watson.

Williams and Watson are gone this year, though … as is leading rusher Wayne Gallman and tight end Jordan Leggett, both of whom were also selected in the NFL draft.

Will Clemson be able to hold off Jackson and the Cardinals again?  On the road?

We’ll see … we know we can’t wait to see how our panel of experts assesses this matchup.

(For those of you interested in seeing how those predictions are coming along, click here).

In addition to this tremendous early season road test, head coach Dabo Swinney’s team has another tough road game on tap against No. 16 Virginia Tech later this month – and welcomes its perennial conference rival No. 10 Florida State to Death Valley on November 11.

Given how stout its defensive unit appears to be, Clemson should be favored to win all three of those games … but that doesn’t mean the Tigers will pull off the tri-fecta.

Accordingly, poll position matters …

Clemson – which started the 2017 season ranked No. 5 nationally – is now ranked No. 3 according to the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 2 according to the Amway Coaches’ poll.  Such lofty early-season rankings are important. Assuming the Tigers (2-0, 0-0 ACC) survive their early season road challenges against Louisville and Virginia Tech, they could probably afford to lose a game down the stretch and still make the CFP.

Anyway, here are this week’s rankings …

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ASSOCIATED PRESS TOP 25

1. Alabama (58) 2-0, 1522
2. Oklahoma (2) 2-0, 1447
3. Clemson (1) 2-0, 1380
4. USC 2-0, 1324
5. Penn State 2-0, 1299
6. Washington 2-0, 1124
7. Michigan 2-0, 1107
8. Ohio State 1-1, 1003
9. Oklahoma State 2-0, 1002
10. Wisconsin 2-0, 993
11. Florida State 0-1, 944
12. LSU 2-0, 935
13. Georgia 2-0, 882
14. Louisville 2-0, 658
15. Auburn 1-1, 591
16. Virginia Tech 2-0, 559
17. Miami 1-0, 542
18. Kansas State 2-0, 475
19. Stanford 1-1, 364
20. TCU 2-0, 352
21. Washington State 2-0, 233
22. South Florida 2-0, 188
23. Tennessee 2-0, 159
24. Florida 0-1, 146
25. UCLA 2-0, 119

Dropped from rankings: Notre Dame 24

Others receiving votes: Utah 101, South Carolina 72, Colorado 66, West Virginia 63, Oregon 61, Maryland 42, Notre Dame 31, San Diego State 16, Houston 10, Mississippi State 3, Boise State 3, California 2, Vanderbilt 2, Iowa 2, Texas Tech 2, Michigan State 1.

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AMWAY COACHES’ POLL

1. Alabama (58) 2-0, 1497
2. Clemson (2) 2-0, 1386
3. Oklahoma 2-0, 1385
4. USC 2-0, 1308
5. Penn State 2-0, 1256
6. Washington 2-0, 1173
7. Michigan 2-0, 1082
8. Oklahoma State 2-0, 1026
9. Ohio State 1-1, 962
10. Florida State 0-1, 926
11. LSU 2-0, 920
12. Wisconsin 2-0, 919
13. Georgia 2-0, 830
14. Louisville 2-0, 658
15. Miami 1-0, 551
16. Virginia Tech 2-0, 509
17. Auburn 1-1, 488
18. Kansas State 2-0, 487
19. Stanford 1-1, 372
20. TCU 2-0, 271
21. South Florida 2-0, 249
22. Washington State 2-0, 244
23. Tennessee 2-0, 219
24. Utah 2-0, 182
25. Florida 0-1, 134

Dropped from rankings: Notre Dame 25

Others receiving votes: West Virginia 74, Colorado 70, Oregon 68, UCLA 57, Mississippi State 37, South Carolina 27, Maryland 26, Notre Dame 24, San Diego State 19, Memphis 11, NC State 10, Minnesota 9, Houston 7, Navy 6, Vanderbilt 5, Iowa 4, Duke 3, Army 2, Michigan State 2, UCF 2, Kentucky 1, Boise State 1, Appalachian State 1

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Banner via Travis Bell Photography


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