The CFP has only been around for three years but already there’s trends and tidbits that can give fans an idea of their team’s chances to make the final four. These three tidbits should have Clemson fans feeling even more confident about the Tigers’ bid to repeat as national champions.
In a story by ESPN reporter Heather Dinich that uses data from ESPN’s Stats & Information, Clemson comes away with three positives to return to CFP vs. just one negative.
Here’s a look at each category:
Eleven of the 12 participants played a regular-season nonconference game against a Power 5 opponent and won.
Clemson is arguably in the best shape after its win over Auburn…
All 12 participants entered bowl season with at least two wins over AP-ranked opponents.
The Tigers are currently the only top-25 team that already has two wins over AP-ranked opponents, in No. 10 Auburn and No. 15 Virginia Tech. Louisville has since dropped out of the top 25, but Clemson now has another opportunity for a road win against a ranked opponent in No. 20 NC State on Nov. 4. The Tigers also will likely face a ranked opponent in the ACC championship game, assuming they’re not upset in Raleigh.
By the end of the season, this trend should again hold true for the 2017 semifinalists, but the Tigers are the only ones who can already check this box.
Nine of the past 12 semifinalists returned their primary starting quarterback from the previous season.
Bodes well for: Almost everyone. It’s the Year of the Quarterback, remember?
Doesn’t bode well for: Clemson, Georgia
Clemson has gotten through the most difficult stretch of its schedule with rookie Kelly Bryant, who has drawn praise from just about everyone, including his predecessor, Deshaun Watson. Bryant has already won on the road, and in prime time, but can he do it in a semifinal? In Atlanta?
Eleven of 12 participants had a head coach who had previously won a conference title.
Bodes well for: Alabama, Clemson, Penn State, Washington
All in all, while Clemson is going for back-to-back national titles with a rookie quarterback, the rest of the odds are in favor of the Tigers making it back to the CFP. History isn’t guaranteed to be repeated but there’s comfort in numbers.
Clemson travels to Syracuse on Oct. 13 for a 7 p.m. (EST) matchup that will be televised on ESPN.
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