By and large, those commenting about the College Football Playoff and the possibility of it expanding have held old-school beliefs close to their hearts: Don’t do it. Just leave four-team tournament alone. Opening it up to more entrants will just water down the product. We’re already seeing blowouts with just four teams in it.
Oh, and at all costs, keep Clemson out of it.
Not for nothing, but that – all of that – has been pitched almost since the CFP’s inception. If you weren’t a recognized blue blood by those on TV already biased from being products of blue blood programs or from genuflecting at them for decades, then you had no business being in there.
And no ACC team, not even a dominant one, would be worthy of such elite status.
Even with the words getting shoved back in the experts’ faces during a six-year run of Clemson in the CFP that included four title-game appearances and two national championships for the Tigers, and growing evidence that more teams in it would enhance the CFP, not to mention the regular season leading up to it, the geniuses stayed true to their BS.
Until this year. Now they all want expansion. It’s their weekly staple anymore. Every show, or discussion, linked to college football comes around to that.
Heck, maybe Clemson even would be worthy then.
But not this year. Good lord, no, not this year. Not with it still just four teams involved.
The pretzel logic surrounding that silliness knows no bounds. As the Tigers crept to an 8-0 start, the prevailing sentiment across the country was dread, especially as the prognostications started coming in that Game No. 9 – at Notre Dame – had, in the know-it-alls' own words, no chance of yielding defeat, that it likely would produce another Clemson win and, ugh, pave the way to yet another CFP berth for the Tigers.
Much to their surprise, and glee, the Irish did win, and win BIG. Ahhh, more fuel for them to fry Clemson.
Big surprise ... not.
Now, though, the hypocrisy has reached hilarity.
Just this week, in explaining the “failure” of the CFP, a system previously hailed vociferously by him, Joel Klatt, the “authority” of college football for Fox Sports, actually used one-loss Clemson being ranked behind two-loss Alabama (No. 8 to No. 7) as a problem with the CFP and its rankings. How that’s wrong and off and blah, blah, blah. Then, he showed his own rankings, and not only did the guy have Alabama (like the CFP, at No. 7) ahead of Clemson, but he moved up Penn State (yes, that Penn State) several spots to get between the two.
Does this guy even follow the sport, aside from covering Big Ten schools seemingly every week and kow-towing to SEC ones definitely every week?
Now Notre Dame, roundly viewed as a joke when it hosted Clemson, is portrayed as this omnipotent squad by Klatt is his ilk, so the No. 15 Irish potentially prevailing in Los Angeles this weekend will lessen the blow to No. 5 USC’s image.
Somehow, No. 6 LSU’s loss to Florida State also is seen as “better” than Clemson’s win over the same school – on the road, too, and not at a neutral site.
Look, the reality is, Clemson is not winning any beauty contest this season. Aside from a quarter here, a half there, a KJ Henry sack here, a Will Shipley hurdle there, it has not passed the “eye test" to be a shoo-in for anything.
But it surpasses the likes of LSU and Alabama on record and “comparison shopping.” Ignore reality all you want, but the Tigers have beaten five teams that were either ranked when Clemson played them or they are ranked now.
Put it this way, Clemson is a legit buy ahead of both as being worthy of CFP consideration this season thus far, and if the Tigers top South Carolina this Saturday afternoon and USC falls to Notre Dame that night, Clemson is worthy of – at worst – the No. 5 spot in the rankings, with the possibility of being higher depending on how No. 3 Michigan-No. 2 Ohio State plays out.
With so many rivalry games this week, it stands to reason that we’re probably looking at a stunner or two. Maybe not so much Michigan-Ohio State or Oregon State-Oregon or Notre Dame-USC since every team in those matchups is ranked and clearly capable even to just the passing-interest fan’s eye.
But Tennessee-Vanderbilt, UCF-USF, and Auburn-Alabama, now if the Commodores, Bulls, or Tigers somehow managed to pull off the unexpected, if not unthinkable, that would be something.
Here’s the one nobody is considering: Dumpster-fire Texas A&M shocking LSU. Thing is, the stars seem to be aligning for that to happen. The Aggies have failed to live up to expectations in positively stunning fashion, so much so that Jimbo Fisher’s job seems to be in legit jeopardy even with an $85 million price tag that would come with his ouster.
But they’re hardly lacking in talent, they’re playing at home, and they’re facing a squad that has been pumped up by the national media over the last month it appears to be the perfect target for an ugly reality check – which, if that happened, would right the ship on the ridiculous possibility of a two-loss team making the college football playoff.
Frankly, Brian Kelly may have to pull off his motivational best coaching job this season to get the Tigers to avoid an upset.
3 AND OUT
- Todd Centeio began his college football career at Temple way back in 2017, threw for almost 3,000 yards last season at Colorado State and now finds himself ranked among the nation’s passing leaders as a super senior at James Madison, his third school in a well-traveled six-year span. He was never more than a gadget player for the Owls, but he was part of the last three winning seasons for Temple, which has had three losing ones ever since he left the Philly school.
- Interesting to see Delaware not only sneak into the FCS playoffs despite suffering a last-minute, 29-26 at CAA rival Villanova to fall to 7-4 on the season, but also snag a home game in the first round. The Blue Hens will host St. Francis on Saturday at 2 p.m. QB Nolan Henderson, a sixth-year super senior just like Centeio, has accounted for 31 total TDs this season for Delaware, which started 2022 at 5-0.
- After having his 100-yard rushing games streak snapped at 10 the prior Saturday, Illinois junior Chase Brown got back on track this past Saturday with 140 yards (and 2 TDs) on 29 carries in a gut-wrenching loss at No. 3 Michigan. Take note, the snap-streaking game … he rushed for 98 yards (and 2 TDs) on 23 carries. He leads the country in rushing with 1,582 yards.