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Clemson drops to No. 6 in AP poll

Lawton Hilliard, Contributor

Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney checks the scoreboard during the Boston College game in 2019.

In the AP poll released on Sept. 7, Clemson dropped to No. 6, three spots lower than their previous ranking. This ranking ends Clemson’s streak of 57 consecutive top-five rankings in the AP poll and leaves Clemson in a peculiar spot concerning its chances of making the College Football Playoff. 

Clemson’s loss to Georgia, who is No. 2 in the AP poll, obviously hurts Clemson’s chances of making the CFP. The Tigers currently have no ranked team left on their schedule, with Florida State having the greatest chance to be ranked when they visit Clemson.  

Clemson was able to make last year’s CFP with one loss to Notre Dame, but typically one-loss teams need a little help to be ranked in the top four. Even if Clemson were to make the ACC championship and win it, they would likely need to defeat a top-20 team there. With that being said, the ACC’s performance this past weekend did no favors to the Tigers.

In the most recent AP poll, Miami and North Carolina dropped to No. 22 and No. 24, respectively, after losing their opening games on Saturday. Although Clemson will not play either outside of a potential ACC championship matchup, all three of the opening-ranked ACC teams losing in week one brings down the conference’s credibility. 

On a positive note for the Tigers, Virginia Tech, who defeated North Carolina, moved up to No. 19. Clemson will not play Virginia Tech in the regular season, but with No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 22 Miami still on their schedule, the Hokies have a shot at making the ACC championship as a top-10 team.  

If that is the case and Clemson wins the rest of its regular-season games, the winner of the ACC championship will almost certainly be placed in the CFP. 

Regardless of today’s rankings, the college football season is a long one, and if history shows anything, it is that there are many paths to making the CFP. 

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