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Path to the Playoff: Week 3

CTB is too ashamed from his bad quarterback takes during our recent conversation with The Clemson Pawcast to do this week’s Path to the Playoff, so I’m stepping in for him.

After a week of mostly chalk in the second week of the season, Week 3 provided a bit more intrigue in the Top 10.  2 Top 10 teams went down this week (Wisconsin and Auburn) and one of them tumbled out of the Top 10 and most likely out of playoff contention.  I wonder if any losers thought they had a shot at the playoffs this year….

I digress.  The SEC West flexed its power and gave us the idea that LSU may finally have a competent quarterback to take advantage of all of the skill position talent that they have year to year.  They don’t have a dominant running back like they’ve had in years past, but running back by committee seems to be working well enough and Joe Burrows showed some real intangibles after a bit of a slump in the middle of the game.  Alabama looks as dominant as they ever have (albeit without really being tested yet), so it will be interesting to see if this new version of LSU can be more than a minor inconvenience to them.  The West has 4 teams that look they could could compete to win the SEC East (LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State, Alabama) and one more that could, depending on future results (Texas A&M). Speaking of the Aggies, we will see how real they are next week.

The B1G was mostly embarrassed this week with Wisconsin losing to BYU alongside a plethora of other out of conference losses including Nebraska, Indiana, and Northwestern.  Ohio State was really the lone bright spot for the conference, although I thought they looked very beatable in their first test of the season.  TCU is pesky and has some really fast skill players, but they aren’t on the level of a true contender and still gave OSU fits for much of that game. I think it’s OSU or bust for the B1G in the playoff this year.

The Big XII and PAC XII both look relatively harmless when it comes to the elite of college football.  TCU was tons of fun to watch and put on a good show, but didn’t have staying power.  Oklahoma struggled with Iowa State (AGAIN!?) and, though they have a lot of offensive firepower (again), the defense still leaves something to be desired and keeps them from being a real threat to the truly elite teams at the top of the pyramid.

We will see a lot of the ACC below, but on the whole it looks like Clemson and then everybody else.  Boston College looks tough, Virginia Tech could be good but their week 1 win over FSU looks far less impressive now, and Duke makes for an interesting, albeit banged up, team from the Coastal.  Clemson is in the driver’s seat, but they will be tested down the stretch.

2018 Schedule
  • Furman – N/A
    • Game with Colgate Cancelled due to “hurricane”
  • Georgia Southern – L
    • Clemson outgained GaSo 595 to 140, but you wouldn’t know it reading the post game comments
    • Clemson had 7.2 ypp on offense
  • Georgia Tech – L
    • Lost to Pitt 24-19
    • Managed a paltry 380 yards against a bad Pitt team
  • Syracuse – W
    • Beat Florida State 30-7
    • Backup QB Tommy DeVito played well when Dungey went down. 11-16 for 144 yards
  • Wake Forest – L
    • Lost to Boston College 41-34 on Thursday Night
    • Hartman had a good game, but looked like a freshman at times. 2 TDs but also 2 INTs
  • NC State – NA
    • Too scared of Will Grier to move their game
  • Florida State – L
    • Lost to Syracuse 30-7
    • Francois had 50% completions for 178 yards
    • Cam Akers is the lone bright spot, averaging 5+ ypc, but only 10 carries
  • Louisville – W
    • Beat Western Kentucky 20-17
    • Losing going into the 4th quarter
    • Malik Cunningham took over at QB, only 88 yards passing, but 129 yards rushing.
  • Boston College – W
    • Beat Wake Forest 41-34
    • Anthony Brown looked very competent on PA, 64% completions @ 12.16 YPA
    • AJ Dillon got 33 carries and averaged 5+ YPC
  • Duke – W
    • Beat Baylor 40-27
    • Quentin Harris very productive with 3 TDs on 30 attempts.
    • Deon Jackson with 8.3 YPC on 10 carries is impressive.
  • South Carolina – L
    • Lost to Hurricane Florence
    • May be looking to reschedule this game later to get bowl eligibility

With Florida State falling to the bottom of the ACC, it looks more and more like the ACC will be decided when Clemson travels to Chestnut Hill in November.  NC State is still a bit of an unknown after not playing against WVU.  They likely take a step back from where they were last year, but with Finley at QB they will still be dangerous.

Big game to watch in Week 4 for Clemson is Texas A&M playing Alabama.  This will give us a good indication of just how scary Alabama is, and at the same time whether or not our close game against Texas A&M should give Clemson fans more reason to worry.

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