It was a slap in the face to the entire ACC when the Committee released their rankings Tuesday night.
After all, the conference had four teams in the top-25, including two with one loss, but none ranked in the top-eight. Which is a head-scratcher, considering Clemson is 9-1 on the year, but ranked behind Alabama and LSU, teams with two losses apiece.
It’s no mystery how the Committee really favors the SEC, especially with them having a jaw-dropping, four teams from the league in their top-10. Meanwhile North Carolina is 9-1 on the season, undefeated in ACC play and has won six-straight games. However, the Tar Heels are still the nation’s lowest-ranked one-loss team in the Committee’s eyes.
North Carolina’s only loss this season was to a surging Notre Dame squad that’s No. 18 in this week’s Playoff rankings. Yet Mack Brown’s boys can’t seem to catch a break, despite beating every team they encounter.
The knock on the Tar Heels is that they have yet to defeat a ranked team. NC State is No. 24 and will play at North Carolina on Senior Day, which should boost the resume. Not to mention the Tar Heels have already clinched a berth in the ACC Championship Game, and will square off against a top-10 Tiger team, and that’ll help the strength of schedule.
It’s mind-boggling that Clemson is getting no respect from the Committee either. The Tigers have the brand, coach and track history that proves they deserve a seat at the table. It just so happens that Dabo Swinney’s squad is also undefeated in ACC play, but have lost to the Fighting Irish.
Clemson has defeated Wake Forest, Florida State, NC State and Syracuse. The Demon Deacons were No. 21 in the AP Poll, and the Orange were No. 14 when they lost to the Tigers. It should help the Tigers’ cause that the Seminoles and Wolfpack are still in the Committee’s top-25. Still, Clemson is on the outside looking in when it comes to the Playoff race.
The Tigers will need teams ahead of them to lose just to get into the top-six. No. 7 USC plays at No. 16 UCLA this Saturday. If the Trojans lose that matchup, they’ll fall behind the Tigers. Ohio State and Michigan will play in two weeks, so one will fall out of the top-five. It remains to be seen if the Committee will place a one-loss Wolverine or Buckeye team ahead of the Tigers. They already have with Tennessee.
There are six 7-3 teams in the Committee’s top-25, but Duke isn’t one of them. And that’s proof the Committee has been biased to ACC teams.
North Carolina still has a lot to prove, but can gain a lot of ground if it wins out the rest of the way. The ACC is definitely down this year though, which explains the lack of national credibility. Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Miami and Wake Forest have all had disappointing campaigns up to this point.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Committee has looked down on the ACC when compared to other Power Five conferences. Regardless of the matter, if the Tigers or Tar Heels finish the season with just one loss, the Committee has to give them a serious look when deciding on the final four teams that’ll get in.