Clemson University

Dabo on playoff rankings: ‘We’ll pay attention. We don’t live in a tunnel.’

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence talks freshman season

Lawrence leads the ACC in passing touchdowns
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Lawrence leads the ACC in passing touchdowns

The first College Football Playoff rankings of the 2018 season will be released Tuesday and Dabo Swinney and the Tigers will be watching.

Swinney said the rankings mean nothing in October, but he also acknowledged that it will be good to know where the Tigers stand. Clemson and Alabama are expected to be ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in some order.

“We’ll pay attention. We don’t live in a tunnel. We’ll pay attention to it. I don’t have my DVR set or we’re not having a viewing party or anything like that, but I’m sure it’ll be on one of the TVs in the dining hall once we get done with practice,” Swinney said. “It’ll just be ‘Oh, OK. Well nice.’ But it’s not going to be anything that’s real shocking to anybody around here.”

The Tigers are in a good position to return to the playoff for the fourth consecutive season.

Clemson is 8-0 (5-0) and has games remaining against 2-6 Louisville, 6-2 Boston College, 5-3 Duke and 4-3 South Carolina.

The Tigers should be heavily favored in every game the rest of the way, including the ACC title game. In the Coastal Division 6-2 Virginia, 4-3 Virginia Tech and 4-4 Pitt are the biggest challengers. All three teams have one ACC loss.

Still, Swinney knows there is plenty of football remaining.

“Unless they’re going to cancel the rest of the season Tuesday night and say, ‘Let’s just skip that and go play next weekend’ it just doesn’t matter because we’ve got so much work to do,” Swinney said. “Everybody can beat anybody. We’ve got four more games to play that we know of, and we’re trying to earn a 13th. We’re doing everything we can to try to play five more games.”


Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence continues to make veteran plays.

Lawrence passed for 314 yards and four touchdowns Saturday against Florida State, and he now leads the ACC in passing touchdowns with 16.

Co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said one of the most impressive aspects of Lawrence’s game is his vision.

“A lot of times with a young guy you kind of want to manage it for him and say, ‘We want you to go over here with the ball.’ ... And he sees the whole field,” Elliott said.

Elliott added that on Lawrence’s 68-yard touchdown pass to Amari Rodgers, his fourth of Saturday’s game, Rodgers was not the first read.

“He saw the leverage of the safety and he came right off of it and he went to his next read and it resulted in a big play. So you’re just starting to see that he sees the whole field and he’s becoming a lot more comfortable with protecting himself,” Elliott said. “That took Deshaun Watson about a year to really get locked in on that, but he’s jumped in with both feet and you saw that he’s changing some protections and moving the back around and doing some different things. That just goes to show that he’s comfortable in the plan.”