Alabama dethrones Clemson, takes the No. 1 spot in latest AP poll

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 11/8/20

Alabama is No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll for the first time this season. With its top ranking, the Crimson Tide extend their record of consecutive seasons with at least one week on top of the rankings to 13. 

Nick Saban’s squad takes over the top spot after Notre Dame upset Clemson on Saturday in a double-overtime game. The Irish take over the No. 2 spot while Ohio State remained at No. 3. Clemson landed at No. 4, giving up the top spot for the first time this season. 

The Crimson Tide received 59 of 62 first-place votes. Notre Dame received two first-place votes, and its No. 2 ranking is its highest since 2012.

Texas A&M also moved up in the rankings to No. 5 after defeating South Carolina 48-3 on Saturday while the Florida Gators jumped to No. 6 after defeating Georgia to snap a three-game losing streak to the Bulldogs. 

Here’s the full top 25:

  1. Alabama (6-0)
  2. Notre Dame (7-0)
  3. Ohio State (3-0)
  4. Clemson (7-1)
  5. Texas A&M (5-1)
  6. Florida (4-1)
  7. Cincinnati (6-0)
  8. Brigham Young (8-0)
  9. Miami, FL (6-1)
  10. Indiana (3-0)
  11. Oregon (1-0)
  12. Georgia (4-2)
  13. Wisconsin (1-0)
  14. Oklahoma State (5-1)
  15. Coastal Carolina (7-0)
  16. Marshall (6-0)
  17. Iowa State (5-2)
  18. Oklahoma (5-2)
  19. SMU (7-1)
  20. USC (1-0)
  21. Texas (5-2)
  22. Liberty (7-0)
  23. Northwestern (3-0)
  24. Auburn (4-2)
  25. Louisiana-Lafayette (6-1)

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Trevor Lawrence confirms he’ll enter 2021 NFL Draft after 2020 CFB season

Originally posted on Pro Football Rumors By Sam Robinson | Last updated 9/12/20

Certainly not a shocking development, Clemson will not have its superstar quarterback for four seasons. The near-consensus projected No. 1 overall pick next year will indeed be available to teams in 2021.

Trevor Lawrence confirmed during an appearance on ESPN’s “College GameDay” he will enter the 2021 draft after his junior season. The Lawrence sweepstakes will certainly be a key talking point as the 2020 NFL season progresses. Although several other first-round talents have opted out of the 2020 college season, Lawrence does not plan to do so.

A two-time starter in national championship games, Lawrence took the QB reins for the Tigers midway through his freshman season in 2018. The former five-star recruit has been on the No. 1 overall pick radar since that season. In 30 career games, the 6-foot-6 passer has thrown 66 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. As a sophomore, Lawrence became a key rushing presence for the ACC power, gaining 563 yards on the ground and scoring nine TD.

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Clemson No. 1 in AP Top 25 preseason poll

By Zac Wassink | Last updated 8/24/20

If an already altered version of the 2020 college football season kicks off in September amid the coronavirus pandemic, as planned, the Clemson Tigers will enter opening week the country’s top-rated team.

Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), Clemson earned 38 first-place votes to land above No. 2 Ohio State. Alabama is No. 3, Georgia is No. 4, and Oklahoma rounds out the top five.

Defending champion LSU sits at No. 6. Penn State is No. 7.

Unlike the other top-seven programs, both Ohio State and Penn State will sit idle when football gets underway this fall. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have postponed football and other fall sports through at least the end of the year due to the uncontrolled virus outbreak.

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Watch: Joe Burrow ready for national-championship ring after fifth TD pass

Joe Burrow was ready for his national-championship ring following his fifth touchdown pass on Monday night.

The LSU Tigers quarterback threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Terrace Marshall Jr. to put his team up 42-25 on Clemson early in the fourth quarter. As he walked toward the sideline after the touchdown pass, Burrow pointed to his hand to say he was ready for his championship ring.

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At that point in the game, Burrow had 442 passing yards, five passing touchdowns, 60 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. He had his hand in all six of LSU’s touchdowns. Improbably, Burrow was nearing the 493-yard, seven-touchdown performance he had against Oklahoma.

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Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  By Larry Brown  |  Last updated 1/14/20

How the 10 teams still alive for CFP can make final 4

We’ve reached the final 10. Barring all-hell-breaks-loose chaos that would make the 2007 season look tame, there are 10 FBS teams with real—or even really slim—chances to make the College Football Playoff. So let’s examine what each team needs to do to make the bracket.

ACC

Clemson (9–0)

Remaining games: at Boston College, vs. Duke, vs. South Carolina, vs. TBD in ACC Championship (if qualified).

How to get in: The Tigers just need to keep winning and they’ll be one of the top two seeds. It doesn’t seem anyone in the ACC can slow Clemson now that it has reached playoff mode. This week’s trip to Boston College doesn’t fit the profile of Clemson’s random ACC losses in the past two years. Syracuse (2017) and Pittsburgh (’16) were not considered threats. The Orange didn’t make a bowl last year, and the Panthers were 5–4 when they headed down to Clemson. BC is still in contention for the ACC title and could potentially knock Clemson out of the ACC title game by beating the Tigers. Conversely, Clemson could clinch the Atlantic by beating the Eagles. So don’t expect Clemson players to assume this will be easy.

Big 12

Oklahoma (8–1)

Remaining games: vs. Oklahoma State, vs. Kansas, at West Virginia, vs. TBD in Big 12 Championship (if qualified).

How to get in: The Sooners have the clearest path to the Big 12 title game, but that path may require them to beat West Virginia twice in eight days. Here’s how that doesn’t happen. Iowa State wins out, which includes a win against Texas that would hand the Longhorns their third conference loss. Assuming Oklahoma and West Virginia won their previous two games, that would create a scenario where the Sooners could essentially choose their title game opponent based on the result of their Black Friday game in Morgantown. (That also assumes Iowa State beats Kansas State the day after Black Friday.) The Sooners would automatically choose the Cyclones in this scenario, because that would keep their playoff hopes alive.

It will be interesting to see what happens if three spots are filled and a one-loss Big 12 champ (either Oklahoma or West Virginia) are matched against a one-loss Big Ten champ (either Michigan or Ohio State) and/or a one-loss Washington State with a Pac-12 title.

In that scenario, one-loss Michigan probably gets the nod if the Wolverines win the Big Ten. If Ohio State emerges as a one-loss Big Ten champ, then the Big 12 champ will have an excellent argument. Oklahoma probably would get the spot. It would be curious to see what the committee would do with a West Virginia team that had its best non-conference game (at NC State) canceled by a hurricane. But that would be a West Virginia team that just beat Oklahoma twice in eight days.

West Virginia (7–1)

Remaining games: vs. TCU, at Oklahoma State, vs. Oklahoma, vs. TBD in Big 12 Championship (if qualified).

How to get in: I covered most of the Mountaineers’ scenarios in the Oklahoma section, but the gist is they need to just keep winning. There is a possibility they could get a rematch against Iowa State or Texas in the Big 12 title game if they win their last three. That would require Oklahoma to lose to Oklahoma State or Kansas. (So, Oklahoma State.) It also would require Texas or Iowa State to win out. If that title game opponent is the Cyclones, a chance to avenge their only loss could be attractive to the Mountaineers. But given how thoroughly Iowa State shut down West Virginia’s offense, the Mountaineers may not want to see Iowa State again.

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By: Andy Staples

College Football Rankings Released


Written by Jerry Palm at CBSSports.com

With four weeks left in the regular season, the first College Football Playoff Rankings of 2016 were released Tuesday night with Alabama taking the No. 1 spot followed by Clemson, Michigan and Texas A&M from 2-4. Undefeated Washington checked in at No. 5.

As for these first rankings, there are a few surprises — just nowhere near the top.

We will get to those surprises in a moment, but first, let’s start with the usual disclaimer. Nothing in these rankings is meaningful in terms of where teams may be ranked at the end of the season. It is possible that the current top four teams could win out and still not be the top four teams at the end. Even if they are, the order may change. This isn’t like the top 25 polls where you usually hold your position unless you lose.

Here is the top 25 as voted on by the committee. Analysis from CBS Sports playoff and bowls expert Jerry Palm, who nailed the top eight teams in order in his predicted rankings, can be found below.

1. Alabama (8-0)
2. Clemson (8-0)
3. Michigan (8-0)
4. Texas A&M (7-1)
5. Washington (8-0)
6. Ohio State (7-1)

7. Louisville (7-1)
8. Wisconsin (6-2)
9. Auburn (6-2)
10. Nebraska (7-1)
11. Florida (6-1)
12. Penn State (6-2)
13. LSU (5-2)
14. Oklahoma (6-2)
15. Colorado (6-2)
16. Utah (7-2)
17. Baylor (6-1)
18. Oklahoma State (6-2)
19. Virginia Tech (6-2)
20. West Virginia (6-1)
21. North Carolina (6-2)
22. Florida State (5-3)
23. Western Michigan (8-0)
24. Boise State (7-1)
25. Washington State (6-2)

You should not be surprised to see a one-loss team (Texas A&M) ahead of a major conference undefeated team (Washington). There have been only three weekly rankings in the first two seasons of the CFP in which all of the unbeaten Power Five teams were atop the rankings. Those were the first two of 2014 (Mississippi State and Florida State) and the final one last year (Clemson). In fact, the only time there have been three major undefeated teams at the top of the rankings was the first one of last season, when Clemson, LSU and Ohio State topped the list. At that time, there were still eight Power Five teams without a loss. “Undefeated” doesn’t mean much to the committee.

In fact, the committee ranked the undefeated teams in the only justifiable order. Alabama has the best schedule and has been largely dominant. Clemson’s schedule isn’t far off from that of the Crimson Tide, and the Tigers have the best road win of any of these teams. In basketball terms, Michigan is what we would call a “home court hero.” It has a weaker schedule overall than Alabama and Clemson, and it is very home heavy, although there are a couple of wins against teams in the top 12. Washington’s strength of schedule to this point isn’t Baylor-level bad, but it is way behind the other teams on this list. The win at No. 16 Utah is good, but the Huskies’ nonconference schedule was pretty bad and Stanford and Oregon have let them down some.

The one-loss teams are relatively easy to parse through also. Texas A&M and Ohio State have played similar schedules and each has at least one big road win, but the Aggies lost at Alabama and the Buckeyes lost at Penn State. Louisville’s schedule so far is considerably weaker, and the Cardinals only win of note is their destruction of Florida State.

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Could Louisville Still Make the CFB Playoff?

The College Football Playoff selection committee may have a more difficult job than it did in the format’s first two years. And this after only the first October weekend of 2016.

Clemson and Louisville played a thriller Saturday, a loss that did little to diminish the losing Cardinals’ bona fides. Meanwhile Michigan and Ohio State seem destined to hurtle toward each other for the post-Thanksgiving collision as top-five unbeatens.

Will the committee, for the first time, pick more than one team from the same conference for the four-team playoff?

Let’s consider this scenario: Both Louisville and the loser of the Michigan-Ohio State game finish the regular season with just one loss each, to their rival in a close game that wasn’t decided until the waning seconds. But because they reside in the same division as the lone team they lost to, they wouldn’t be able to play for their respective conference championship.

Does the committee select an “at-large” team (or even two) for the playoff field? In the CFP’s first two years, each of the eight participants were Power 5 conference champions. But would that precedent be ignored in 2016?

Even though we’re only five games into the season, that possibility is very real. The Big 12 has virtually played itself out of the playoff already. The Pac-12 has just one undefeated team left in Washington and its strength of schedule might precludes it from making a case. And there’s still Houston, but if it can’t beat Louisville in a November showdown, it will be instantly eliminated.

So that leaves us with candidates only from the ACC, Big Ten and SEC. Each conference still has multiple undefeated teams currently ranked in the top 10 (AP poll) and at this point the winner of those conferences seemingly are assured of a spot in the playoff.

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Clemson vs Louisville Did Not Fail the Hype


Written by Chris Connolly at The State.com

In a game that featured 1,075 yards of offense, three feet ended up being the difference.

Clemson defensive back Marcus Edmond knocked Louisville receiver James Quick out of bounds at the Tigers 3-yard line after an 11-yard gain on fourth-and-12 with less than a minute remaining, and Clemson held on to knock off previously unbeaten Louisville 42-36 Saturday night at Death Valley.

Deshaun Watson connected with Jordan Leggett for a 31-yard touchdown pass with 3:14 remaining on Clemson’s previous drive to give the Tigers the lead after Louisville rallied from an 18-point halftime deficit.

The win, coupled with Florida State’s loss Saturday afternoon, puts Clemson in the driver’s seat in the ACC Atlantic Division.

“We want to be 12-0 and you can’t win 12 until you win five. It was a great win. Louisville played their hearts out,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “At the end of the day, you either have the heart or you don’t. You have the will to win or you don’t. … This is 19 in a row at home and we’re moving on to the next one.”

The Tigers controlled the first half thanks to a stellar performance by Watson and a dominant effort on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

Clemson led 28-10 at halftime as the Tigers offense exploded for four touchdowns in the second quarter after both teams struggled offensively for the first 15 minutes.

Watson passed for 189 yards and three touchdowns in the second quarter, and Wayne Gallman added a 24-yard touchdown run, while the Tigers defense bottled up Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.

The sophomore, who entered the game averaging more than 465 yards of offense and with 25 total touchdowns, was held to 138 yards and no touchdowns in the first half before he got it going the last two quarters.

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Clemson Vs Louisville; Battle of Top QB’s

We’re a long ways away from the ACC Championship Game.

We’re a long ways away from the Heisman Trophy ceremony as well.

But, in a way, it feels as if they’re right around the corner.

That’s because Saturday’s Louisville-Clemson matchup will have significant and perhaps lasting ramifications on who wins the ACC — we knew that going into the season — but also who will be considered the best quarterback in the nation.

That last part seemingly came out of nowhere.

We knew Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was going to be in the running for the Heisman Trophy this season, but Lamar Jackson has taken over the college football world with his absurd 25 touchdowns in four games. Jackson has spent so much time scoring, it’s amazing he found the time to throw three interceptions this year.

Jackson’s 25 touchdowns rank third nationally — amongst Division 1 teams. He’s scored one more touchdown than Alabama this season and 17 more than Stanford.

A third of the way through Louisville’s regular season, Jackson has already earned himself a spot in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. It’s his trophy to lose.

In fact, no one is even close to Jackson in the Heisman running right now.

That could change Saturday.

Watson entered the season as one of the favorites to win the Heisman — he led Clemson to the national championship game last season and his Tiger offense returned an abundance of talent around him.

But so far this season, the Tigers have been sluggish, particularly on offense. The disjointed performance (in a win) against Auburn in the season opener, followed by a down-to-the-wire win over Troy (yes, you read that right), dissolved the preseason confidence that followed the Tigers.

Last Thursday’s win over Georgia Tech, as dominant as it might have been, certainly didn’t re-establish that confidence.

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Week 5 College Football Preview


Written by Bud Elliot at SB Nation.com

Every college football media outlet has its own version of a pick ’em. SB Nation’s will focus on only the biggest games of the week. Here are the rules:

  • We will pick the winner of all games between ranked (AP Poll) teams, but if there are not enough such games in a given week, we will throw in a game or two of note, so we are always picking at least three games per week.
  • Players must assign a confidence rating from 1 to 10 points with each pick. If they win, they get the points added to their weekly and season total. If they lose, the points are subtracted. Yes, a player can choose the same confidence number for each game, and yes, this could result in some hilariously poor scores.

This week we have four such games.

The average points wagered this week is 24, a pretty confident slate. Michigan was the most heavily wagered selection, with 17 of 18 picks and 142 points. The Louisville at Clemson game featured only a combined 67 points wagered.

Week 4’s champion was Steven Godfrey, with 20 points. Our other participants are Dan Rubenstein, Matt Brown, Morgan Moriarty, Alex Kirshner, Jason Kirk, Jeanna Thomas, Richard Johnson, Sarah Hardy, Luke Zimmermann, Spencer Hall , Bill Connelly, Brian Floyd, Ryan Nanni, Wescott Eberts, myself, and, Rodger Sherman.

No. 7 Stanford at No. 10 Washington

The winner of this game takes a huge step forward in the Pac-12 North race after Oregon was shown to be nothing special.

No. 11 Tennessee at No. 25 Georgia

Can Tennessee handle success after coming back to dominate Florida? Can Georgia get off the mat after getting blown out by Ole Miss?

No. 8 Wisconsin at No. 4 Michigan

Can Wisconsin upset Michigan State and Michigan in back-to-back weeks?

No. 3 Louisville at No. 5 Clemson

Louisville has been the more impressive team to date, but Clemson may break out Deshaun Watson’s wheels more than it has been willing to do to date.

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