The initial College Football Playoff rankings for 2016 were released Tuesday night, and for the second year in a row, Clemson’s in the top four.
The Tigers are ranked No. 2, behind last year’s national champion Alabama. Michigan’s ranked No. 3, while Texas A&M comes in at No. 4.
If the rankings hold, Clemson would face the Wolverines in a College Football Playoff semifinal in Glendale, Ariz., on Dec. 31.
The Tigers faced Alabama last year in Glendale in the national title game, falling 45-40.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told reporters Tuesday morning that he doesn’t care where the Tigers are ranked now, just where they are ranked at the end of the season.
“It just doesn’t matter. Everybody’s got to have something to talk about. Everybody’s got to have something to write about. That’s what makes the world go around. That’s what makes it fun. People want to watch good programming and have to deal with hypotheticals. … But that’s just not our world,” Swinney said. “For us we’ve got to take care of business. That’s the bottom line. … If we continue to take care of business, then in December and late November, then they matter.”
The Tigers have four regular-season games remaining, beginning on Saturday at home against Syracuse, as well as the ACC championship game following the regular season – should Clemson hold on and win the Atlantic Division. The Tigers are a game ahead of Louisville in the division and hold the tiebreaker.
The rest of the top 10 in the playoff rankings includes Washington at No. 5, with Ohio State, Louisville, Wisconsin, Auburn and Nebraska rounding out the top 10.
The Aggies (7-1) were surprisingly a spot ahead of unbeaten Washington on Tuesday in the first of six selection committee rankings. The Crimson Tide (8-0), Tigers (8-0), Wolverines (8-0) and Huskies (8-0) are the only remaining undefeated teams from Power Five conferences and hold the top four spots in the latest Associated Press poll.
The 12-person committee, however, gave a nod to Texas A&M’s strength of schedule.
“Simply stated, the committee, in our mind, believes that Texas A&M has played a stronger scheduled at this point in time of the season over Washington,” playoff selection committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
4. Texas A&M
6. Ohio St.
12. Penn St.
18. Oklahoma St.
19. Virginia Tech
20. West Virginia
21. North Carolina
22. Florida St.
23. Western Michigan
24. Boise St.
25. Washington St.
The College Football Playoff Selection Committee will issue weekly rankings each Tuesday, with the final rankings being announced Dec. 4 (Noon). The playoff semifinals will match the No. 1 seed vs. the No. 4 seed, and No. 2 will face No. 3. The semifinals will be hosted at the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl on Dec. 31, 2015. The championship game will be played on Jan. 9, 2017 at Tampa, Fla.