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Does Clemson Deserve Its Ranking?

College Football Playoff panel shows the Tigers love …

This news site has consistently given Clemson University‘s football team its due.  We predicted its victory in last season’s national championship game, and argued former Tigers’ quarterback Deshaun Watson should have won the Heisman Trophy last year.

So … do we think this year’s Clemson team deserves to be ranked No. 4 in the nation?

The College Football Playoff (CFP) selection committee released its first rankings of the 2017 season on Tuesday night, and that’s where the Tigers stood – behind SEC powers Georgia and Alabama (both undefeated) and one-loss Notre Dame.

On the outside looking in (for now)? One-loss squads Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State and TCU (ranked No. 5-8)  and a pair of undefeated teams – Wisconsin of the Big Ten (at No 9) and Miami of the ACC (No. 10).

Where’s the love for the Badgers and Hurricanes?

The selection committee clearly wasn’t impressed by Wisconsin’s schedule – which includes zero wins over ranked opponents.  Meanwhile Miami’s narrow aversion of an upset on the road Saturday against 1-7 North Carolina also failed to inspire.

But Clemson has been upset by an unranked opponent this season – there was no aversion about it.  There’s also a compelling argument to be made that the Tigers’ loss against Syracuse was far worse than Notre Dame’s lone defeat – a one-point defeat at the hands of No. 1 Georgia.

Or for that matter Ohio State’s loss to Oklahoma …

In other words we can see the Irish in the top four, but Clemson?

Frankly, we’d put them at around No. 6 – behind Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.

This is not intended in any way as disrespect for head coach Dabo Swinney‘s program.  The Tigers are not only the defending champions, they have a history of proving their critics wrong.  We’re just not quite so sure they deserve all the love they’re getting this year.

Obviously we’ll find out over the course of the coming month if Clemson belongs in the top four – including a possible head-to-head matchup against Miami in the ACC championship game.

So stay tuned …

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