Clemson University

Where Clemson is ranked in first CFP ranking: Tigers outside of Top 4 looking in

Clemson is vying for its fifth consecutive College Football Playoff berth, and the Tigers are in a good spot after the first rankings of the season were released Tuesday night — even if they’re not in the first Top 4 of the season.

The Tigers are ranked No. 5 entering this weekend’s game at N.C. State.

Ohio State is ranked No. 1, followed by LSU, Alabama and Penn State, with Clemson rounding out the top five. LSU and Alabama play each other this weekend. Ohio State and Penn State play each other later this month.

Clemson has won two of the past three national titles and has established itself as one of the premiere programs in the sport. Some have knocked the Tigers for their schedule as Clemson has yet to play a team that is currently ranked in the top 25, but Tigers coach Dabo Swinney defended his team’s slate on Tuesday.

“In the beginning of my career it was, ‘Well, there will never be an ACC great team in the playoff because they don’t play anybody.’ Well, then we become a dominant team in the postseason and now we only win because we don’t play anybody,” Swinney said. “It used to be, ‘Well, we couldn’t match up in the postseason.’ Now it’s, ‘Well you only can win in the postseason.’ I just laugh. It’s just the same ole spin.”

Clemson and Alabama have met in the College Football Playoff each of the past four years, and the two teams could be headed toward another meeting this season.

Clemson and Alabama have split the past four meetings, but the Tigers have won two of the past three. Swinney pointed out that Clemson has had more success against Alabama than the other teams in the SEC.

The Crimson Tide have lost one SEC game since the start of the 2016 season.

“Who’s beat Alabama in the SEC? Who’s beat them? How many games have they lost in the last five years in their conference?” Swinney said. “You’ve gotta really think about that, don’t you? It ain’t many.”

While Swinney defended Clemson’s success in recent years, he insisted that he is not worried about where Clemson stands in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. Instead, he is only concerned with where the Tigers are at the end of the year.

“It doesn’t matter. If we lose to N.C. State are we going to celebrate, ‘Woooo we were third in the poll?’ I don’t think so. All of that will go away. We just need to focus on what we can control. All the rest of that stuff is based on nine games and people’s opinions,” Swinney said. “We’ll be in the conversation... there’s only seven undefeated teams left and we’re one of them. So we’ve got a chance. If we stay focused and committed and do the things that win this time of year then we’ll have a chance to be in the conversation.”

First CFP rankings are out

The first College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night. Here’s the Top 25.

1. Ohio St. (8-0)

2. LSU (8-0)

3. Alabama (8-0)

4. Penn St. (8-0)

5. Clemson (9-0)

6. Georgia (7-1)

7. Oregon (8-1)

8. Utah (8-1)

9. Oklahoma (7-1)

10. Florida (7-2)

11. Auburn (7-2)

12. Baylor (8-0)

13. Wisconsin (6-2)

14. Michigan (7-2)

15. Notre Dame (6-2)

16. Kansas St. (6-2)

17. Minnesota (8-0)

18. Iowa (6-2)

19. Wake Forest (7-1)

20. Cincinnati (7-1)

21. Memphis (8-1)

22. Boise St. (7-1)

23. Oklahoma St. (6-3)

24. Navy (7-1)

25. SMU (8-1)

NEXT

Who: No. 4 Clemson (9-0, 6-0) at N.C. State 4-4 (1-3)

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Raleigh, N.C.

TV: ABC

Line: Clemson by 32

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Matt Connolly is the Clemson beat writer and covers recruiting and college sports for The State newspaper and The State.com
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