| USA TODAY
No. 1 Clemson’s 42-17 win in opposition to No. 7 Miami is reaffirmation of what we knew heading into kickoff:
Clemson is the most effective workforce within the ACC.
Clemson is deserving of being No. 1 within the Amway Coaches Ballot. (Extra on that in a second.)
Clemson is on its strategy to one other journey to the Faculty Soccer Playoff, this system’s sixth straight.
And Clemson is just not fairly in midseason type.
In bullying the unbeaten Hurricanes, Clemson outlined the hole between itself and the remainder of the convention whereas exhibiting the necessity for enchancment on particular groups and in growing the younger talent gamers littering the depth chart on offense.
It’s doable that Miami finally ends up being the most effective workforce the Tigers face all season, although it’s extra probably that No. 5 Notre Dame gives a more durable take a look at when the 2 groups meet in South Bend on Nov. 7.
Both approach, the Tigers’ play in opposition to the Hurricanes bodes effectively for the workforce’s probabilities of making one other unspoiled run by convention play and a case for being the top-ranked workforce within the closing playoff rankings.
Clemson closes out October in opposition to Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Boston Faculty.
Trevor Lawrence, who completed with 292 passing yards and three touchdowns, outplayed Miami’s D’Eriq King within the battle of Heisman Trophy contenders. King has breathed life into the Hurricanes’ offense however was unable to discover a rhythm in opposition to Clemson, ending with 205 yards of complete offense and finishing 12 of his 28 makes an attempt.
However Lawrence wasn’t helped by an in-progress receiver corps, which rather than Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross wants extra from underclassmen equivalent to Frank Ladson, who has been inconsistent. Ladson’s drop of a transparent landing on an extended Lawrence go within the first half quickly deflated the Clemson offense.
The most important subject for Clemson was the kicking sport, which had been a nice shock by three video games however noticed three kicks blocked. One, a 61-yard try as time expired within the first half, was returned for a Miami landing. (Whereas the execution was poor, Dabo Swinney’s determination to kick within the first place was worse.)
Atop the Coaches Ballot for the reason that preseason, beating Miami by 25 factors cements Clemson’s place at No. 1. Whereas Alabama has been predictably spectacular, the Tigers presently personal the most effective win of the pair — topping Miami is a bit of higher than Alabama’s win in opposition to Texas A&M — and have carried out nothing to warrant being changed by the Crimson Tide.
For now, no less than. Barring chaos, unbeaten Clemson would enter the postseason with three or 4 wins in opposition to ranked groups: Miami, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and its opponent within the ACC championship. In the identical state of affairs, undefeated Alabama would have six: A&M, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, Auburn and within the SEC championship.
If not debated with almost the identical fervor because the chase for No. 4, the competitors between the Tigers and Tide is deeply necessary in a single key respect: The No. 2 seed within the nationwide semifinals may face Ohio State, for instance, whereas No. 1 would undoubtedly face a better matchup.
The controversy may not come into play. Whereas Alabama’s offense is rolling behind quarterback Mac Jones, the Tide struggled defensively in beating Ole Miss 63-48. If not good, Clemson is a much more full workforce as compared.
To hash out Clemson’s semifinal situations in October is a press release in itself. 4 video games in and with as many as seven to return till the postseason, already ok for No. 1 however with time to enhance, the Tigers are rolling towards the playoff.
Observe USA TODAY Sports activities schools reporter Paul Myerberg on Twitter @PaulMyerberg