Clemson (10-1) has a pulse in the college football playoff race after Tennessee’s shocking loss to South Carolina in Week 11 as the Tigers check in at No. 8 and have the potential for multiple teams to lose before the final standings are released on December 4th. But not everyone is enthusiastic about the idea Dabo Swinney and Society, who are reviving their playoff hopes after looking all but gone after losing at Notre Dame in early November. SEC Network host Paul Finebaum said it would be a “joke” if the Tigers earned a playoff spot when the dust settled.
“I think the biggest joke in two weeks time is when we’re talking about Clemson being in the playoffs,” Finebaum said McElroy and Cubelic in the morning at WJOX in Birmingham. “I find it a ridiculous claim.”
As of Tuesday’s rankings update, Clemson has just one win against a current top-25 team and barely. Louisville, which the Tigers defeated in Week 10, came in at No. 25. Clemson is likely to face another top-25 opponent in the form of North Carolina in the ACC Championship game, but the Tar Heels’ resume took a hit with a loss to Georgia Tech in week 11.
“I was thinking about being in South Carolina the other day because Clemson fans were asking me — Clemson didn’t do anything,” Finebaum added. “That loss to Notre Dame disqualifies them. They can no longer claim a win against a really good North Carolina team (in the ACC title game). If you lose to Georgia Tech, you’re not really good. … Clemson is not going to the playoffs and shouldn’t be going.”
Ultimately, that fate rests in the hands of the playoff selection committee. But the Tigers need to mind their own business first to earn recognition. It begins with a rivalry game against the same South Carolina team on Saturday that ruined Tennessee’s Week 12 season. Clemson owns a seven-game winning streak in the series, but Swinney knows the rivalry game will carry a little more weight than other competitions.
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“The season is over,” Swinney told reporters via Clemson247.com. “And now it’s South Carolina. There’s the season and there’s South Carolina, which is a destination of its own. No matter what happened, what’s coming – it’s all about this week. Looking at South Carolina, Shane (Beamer) in particular did a great job. What a win last week. They played their best game and we played our best game. Two teams have had big wins and I think both teams have some confidence.”