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ESPN Analyst Says Nobody Wants To Play Clemson This Year

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the favorite to go No. 1 in the 2021 NFL Draft, throws against Texas A&M

CLEMSON, SOUTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 07: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers drops back to pass against the Texas A&M Aggies during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

LSU and Ohio State flipped spots in the College Football Playoff rankings this week. The Buckeyes have taken over at No. 1, followed by the Tigers, with Clemson coming in at No. 3.

Georgia sits at No. 4 once again this week, but that spot is the one most open for debate if things progress the way that they're expected to go.

The Dawgs and LSU are heading for an SEC Championship showdown, while Alabama, Utah, Minnesota, and Oklahoma are the main contenders waiting in the wings based on what happens over the next two weekends.

Pretty much any of those matchups would be preferable to the reigning national champion Clemson, which has hit its stride as of late, so Ohio State and LSU have plenty of incentive to hold on to the No. 1 spot when the last rankings come around.

ESPN's Jesse Palmer believes this is especially important because nobody wants Clemson in the semifinal game this year, especially Ohio State, which got crushed last time it drew the Tigers in the College Football Playoff.

Via 247Sports:

“It’s interesting though, normally when we get into the Playoff, historically No. 1 and No. 2 are head and shoulders above the rest, but Clemson is different,” Palmer said on ESPN's selection show. “That’s a team you want to avoid. Path of least resistance. That’s why it’s important to see who finishes first. They’re a dominant team since the scare against UNC, beating teams by at least 31 points … and they have the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft in Trevor Lawrence.

"(Clemson has) one of the best defenses and Playoff experience."

In years past, Clemson has suffered regular season losses to the likes of Pitt and Syracuse. This season, it took its shot from North Carolina, a game it probably should've dropped in Chapel Hill, but survived 21-20. Since that game in late September, the Tigers have won by an average of 42.8 points, and are currently riding a four game streak of at least 50 points.

The final College Football Playoff rankings and four-team field will be revealed on Sunday, Dec. 8.