22/04/2024

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Clemson’s upset loss can snowball into something much worse

Clemson’s upset loss can snowball into something much worse

Clemson losing so badly to Notre Dame could be ominous for the ACC’s slim playoff chances.

If Notre Dame revealed Clemson to be Paper Tigers, then that is horrendous news for the ACC.

Clemson plummeted from No. 4 all the way to No. 12 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. The Golden Domers sure had their way with the Tigers last Saturday night.

Even though the Irish have finally found their footing under new head coach Marcus Freeman, that loss was especially damning for Clemson. Furthermore, it could be absolutely disastrous for the entire ACC.

Here is why the Tigers getting throttled in South Bend can keep the ACC out of the playoff entirely:

Clemson’s loss to Notre Dame has massive College Football Playoff implications

Look. Even though Notre Dame has earned its way back to having a Top 25 ranking, the Tigers losing to the Irish signifies anybody can beat Clemson now. While Miami is probably not going to do it to close out ACC play for the Tigers, Louisville can certainly stun them in Death Valley this week. Let’s not forget about the Palmetto Bowl vs. Shane Beamer’s South Carolina Gamecocks…

If Clemson were to lose to the Cardinals, Hurricanes or Gamecocks, the Tigers are not making the College Football Playoff, even if they were to beat presumptive ACC Coastal champion North Carolina in Charlotte. Although UNC only has one loss on the season too, and that loss being to Notre Dame as well, the Tar Heels are widely considered to be the weakest team that is still alive.

Should UNC hand Clemson its third loss of the season in Charlotte, that may not be all that quality of a win for North Carolina. The Tar Heels would need a lot of help to make the four-team field if that were the case. Plus, how sure are we that the new No. 20 Notre Dame will win out? The Irish are bowl eligible at 6-3, but they still have to play rival USC in Los Angeles at the end of the season.

Because of Clemson’s recent struggles and the fact that the ACC Coastal that UNC has dominated is nothing short of hot garbage, both ACC title contenders really need the Irish to win out and get to 9-3. UNC still has games left vs. Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State, so the Tar Heels do have some time to improve their resume, whereas the Tigers’ will pretty much be what it is now.

In short, Clemson is the team keeping the ACC around in the playoff picture more so than North Carolina. Yes, both can technically make the College Football Playoff if either wins out, but neither team would be anything higher than a No. 3 seed in an absolute, best-case scenario. Should either or both teams falter, it crosses off the ACC from playoff consideration for the second year in a row.

That outcome may signify the end of Clemson’s portion of the concurrent dynasties. Dabo Swinney has lost too many coordinators to keep his bubble culture intact. Jeff Scott already failed leading South Florida. Let’s just say Brent Venables and Tony Elliott are not off to the best of starts at Oklahoma and Virginia either. The college football world may be leaving Clemson behind.

As far as what a non-playoff season for the Tigers means for the rest of the country, it gives other conferences like the Big Ten and SEC opportunities to get multiple teams in this year. It also allows a rising program like TCU to get in with maybe one loss. Lastly, it almost certainly guarantees that the Pac-12 champion will be getting in, so long as that team does not have two losses on the year.

While the Alabama dynasty might be dying, two years and no playoffs means Clemson’s has already died.

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