Skip to main content

ESPN Outlines Who Clemson Fans Need To Be Rooting For

A closeup of the Clemson offensive line lined up across from the South Carolina defensive line.

CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 29: A general view of the Clemson Tigers and South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 29, 2014 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)

If Clemson goes undefeated, it is unfathomable that the Tigers, the defending national champions, would miss the College Football Playoff. As the last three weeks—and Georgia, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma losses that they brought—have proven as much.

Clemson's brutally easy ACC schedule may wind up doing it some favors, as it will be very hard for the team to lose a game, even with some shaky performances by Trevor Lawrence and company. If the team loses, however, it might not have enough on the resume to beat out other one-loss Power Five teams.

In the event that the Tigers slip up somewhere, they and their fans may find themselves rooting for some strange bedfellows. Namely: this season's two Clemson opponents from the SEC, Texas A&M and archrival South Carolina.

ESPN's resident College Football Playoff expert Heather Dinich wrote a column on the teams that each contender should root for. For Clemson, she explains why they're best off if the Aggies and Gamecocks thrive down the stretch.

Juuuust in case you, well, lose. Let's call it insurance. As of this second, the Tigers have zero wins against top-25 teams. Only two victories have come against teams above .500 -- Texas A&M (5-3) and Louisville (5-3). Clemson looks like a top-four team. It should win out. If -- if -- it doesn't, though, it could be in trouble if it gets into a résumé comparison with other one-loss teams. What if Clemson loses to South Carolina -- a team Alabama beat on the road -- and the Tigers and Tide both finish with one loss? If Clemson wins the ACC Atlantic (don't forget, the Tigers also have to play Wake Forest), it would be guaranteed to face a team with at least two losses in the ACC championship game, which won't do much to impress the committee on Selection Day.

Again, this is not a super likely scenario, so Clemson fans shouldn't need to worry too much.

Football Power Index has the following win percentage numbers for the Tigers down the stretch of the regular season:

Nov. 2: Wofford - 99.7%
Nov. 9: at NC State - 97%
Nov. 16: vs. No. 23 Wake Forest - 96.7%
Nov. 30: at South Carolina - 89.6%

I'd imagine that whichever team winds up winning the ACC Coastal will also be given roughly a 10-to-15-percent chance at best. As of today, Virginia is the clubhouse leader at 5-3 (3-2 in ACC play), but no team outside of Georgia Tech is really out of it.