Yes, this is a post I have wanted to write (and have written many times in my head) immediately after the Auburn game. Like I have said before, as a Clemson fan and probably just a sports fan, its just what you do. You project how your team is going to win the national championship and you do it up until the moment your team loses. If tomorrow we lose to GT then I want to be able to say that I enjoyed the ride while it lasted. Yes, I know--only think about the game in front of you. Beat GT and it will work itself out...but where is the fun in painstakingly agonizing over all the potential scenarios and knowing all of the teams that need to win and lose each week. I just can't miss out anymore.
So we all know the basics by now. Essentially there will be a 1-loss SEC team that is presumed to win out. OK St has the strongest poll numbers (the Big 12 is loved by the computers) and will play in the natl champs if they win out. Thanks to the stupid coaches poll Stanford will jump us if they go undefeated and we are supposed to jump Boise St. I'm also not going to entertain the idea that a one loss team can jump us. With our 2 team SEC OOC (out of conference) strength of schedule it is not happening.
So we would have an argument for staying ahead of Stanford if we both went undefeated but that was sabotaged by Miami. We could have played a ranked UNC and GT (if they had stayed undefeated probably for Gameday) but that didn't happen. Wake could be ranked if they win their games before us but then you risk losing to Wake and letting them play in the Conference Champs game. If you can stomach rooting for USuCk that will help our strength of schedule too. Its tough because you want USuCk, Florida and Georgia to all be somewhat down so you can win recruiting battles. Do you root for Georgia so USuCk can't win the East? If you do that then you are rooting for Boise's only quality win and boosting their SOS. Tough choices...
What you really want in order to ensure that all the one loss teams are kept at bay is for Virginia Tech to remain with one loss and be ranked in the top ten for the ACCChamps. If that happens there is no way we don't jump Boise. Auburn is another team to root for since the voters love to keep them in the top 25.
I'm going to go through each team and pick a few potential stumbling blocks. Just like Okla. losing to Texas Tech, every team is potentially vulnerable.
First is LSU. I see guys on the D like Sam Montgomery and Craig Loston and I wonder what if...They have the easiest road after Alabama. Only Arkansas at home and at the end of the season remains. That is a slight possibility but since it is at home its very tough. They play Western Kent and Ole Miss for the other games, so yeah...Maybe for this reason you cheer for Bama.
Bama. On the road at Miss St is a stretch but could be a let down game after the emotional LSU SuperBowl. The D is amazing but the offense is still a bit suspect if you can contain the run game. This is the reason why I like Auburn's chances at home at the end of the season. If Auburn can get their offense clicking it could happen. Again a stretch but not beyond the realm of possibility.
As you can see I am looking for a way that both SEC teams have one loss when the smoke clears. Maybe an East team puts up a fight?? It does strike me, however, that everyone automatically assumes that at least one SEC team will make it and when everyone is so certain about things, that is when something goes wrong. I guy can dream...
Ok St. This is the toughest schedule with Baylor, Kansas St, Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Only Texas Tech is on the road but that is still quite the gambit. Not having a Champs game this year will be a big deal, however. The 30-29 squeaker against A&M looks bigger and bigger. The D is not very good but has its moments--much like Clemson and the offense is clicking. Blackmon is a weapon and the QB Wheedon is an older, solid player. I can almost convince myself that Ok St will do it this year but then I think that Gundy will somehow blow it in the end. In the past I think his teams have lacked a certain mental toughness to hang with the elites in the Big 12. Hopefully this isn't the year they get over the proverbial hump.
Boise St. Georgia is the big win but they have stinkers against UNLV and New Mexico coming up. The TCU game is a possible crater. Boise looked suspect against Air Force and the Horned Frogs looked improved against BYU. Patterson will have his team up and prepared for the game. San Diego St. is a super long shot.
Stanford. USC. Fight On Trojans. I think we don't know anything about this team yet. They have played absolutely no one. An overrated Wash and mediocre Wash st and the only mid tier teams. San Jose St? Colorado? Arizona pre-Stoops firing? Duke? This is the schedule that shoots them up to #3 in the Coaches Poll? Any excuse to brighten the Luck spotlight. Oregon and Notre Dame should be formidable and Cal and on the road at Ore St is still tricky. I fully expect them to lose once if not twice. ASU in the Pac-12 Champs could be tough with their front 7.
K State will lose.