ACC in peril of being excluded from 2nd straight playoff


ATLANTA (AP) — Clemson’s loss at Notre Dame was a extreme blow to the ACC’s hopes of touchdown a group within the College Football Playoff.

Last weekend’s 35-14 setback at three-loss Notre Dame dropped Clemson (8-1, 6-0) from the record of the nation’s unbeaten groups. The Tigers moved from No. 5 all the way down to a season-low No. 12 on this week’s AP Top 25.

Suddenly the ACC is in peril of being shut out of the playoff for the second straight yr.

The ACC is with no top-10 group within the AP ballot. Even with solely three weeks remaining within the common season, the league’s coaches imagine it’s too early to rely out the Tigers or different groups, together with one-loss North Carolina.

“A lot of ball left and a lot of opportunity left,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney mentioned. “The only thing off the table for us is that we know we’re not going to be undefeated.”

The AP Top 25 has skilled some severe shuffling this season. When it involves reviving the ACC’s sagging playoff hopes, the league wants extra upsets of the present contenders for the four-team playoff.

“I think almost every year, a one-loss team makes it to the to the finals, it seems like,” N.C. State coach Dave Doeren mentioned. “Clemson’s still a one-loss team. We’ll just have to see how it plays out. I think that these next four weeks are going to be huge in college football.”

No. 15 North Carolina (8-1, 5-0) sits atop the ACC’s Coastal Division. Clemson already has clinched the highest spot within the Atlantic Division.

Swinney is utilizing his group’s 2016 nationwide championship season as a reminder that dour projections in early November aren’t all the time correct. He mentioned the Tigers had been counted out following their first loss to an unranked Pittsburgh group in early November. Clemson then gained its last 5 video games, together with playoff wins over Ohio State and Alabama.

“I’d be lying if I said we didn’t want to make it to the playoffs, but I think right now our focus is getting back on track,” Clemson left deal with Jordan McFadden mentioned. ”If we win out, I feel (playoffs) will maintain themselves.”

Clemson’s loss to Notre Dame doesn’t simply damage the Tigers. The loss removes among the glitter that might be added to North Carolina’s season if the Tar Heels attain the ACC championship recreation and beat the Tigers. A win over an undefeated Clemson group would have had extra affect on the CFP committee than a win over a one-loss group.

North Carolina coach Mack Brown simply desires his Tar Heels to maintain their enterprise this weekend at Wake Forest. Brown mentioned playoff projections have been totally different each week.

“Your four changed every week,” Brown mentioned, including specialists maintain saying “‘They’re a lock’ and then (top teams) get upset. And it happened this weekend.

“It’s just crazy to see how much difference is there. So what we’ve told our guys is just keep playing. Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about anything except Wake Forest. And really and truly, all the other talk about College Football Playoff and championships and all those things are fun for fans, they’re fun for media. They’re only distractions for kids.”

Clemson is No. 10 on this week’s CFP rating. North Carolina is No. 15, one spot forward of North Carolina State (7-2, 3-2). Florida State (6-3, 4-3) is No. 23.

The ACC had a group within the first seven playoffs. Clemson made the four-team playoff in six consecutive years, successful two championships, earlier than lacking the reduce final yr. Florida State represented the ACC within the 2015 playoff.

Clemson wasn’t the one top-five group within the AP Top 25 to lose final week. Tennessee dropped from a tie for No. 2 to No. 5 with a loss at No. 1 Georgia. Another Southeastern Conference recreation with playoff implications was No. 6 Alabama’s loss at No. 15 LSU.

More upsets may open the door for Clemson or North Carolina.

“There’s just a lot of football left,” Doeren mentioned. “And I don’t think the ACC is out of it yet. I don’t. I think there’s a lot that can happen.”


AP Sports Writers Aaron Beard and Pete Iacobelli contributed to this report.


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