By Neil Burnett/Editorial Opinion
Clemson Drops In Polls = Lack of Respect
As expected, Clemson dropped from #2 to #3 in the AP Poll. My expectation was actually seeing Clemson drop in the polls down to #4 or #5 LAST week after the 1-point win over UNC. Everyone knows Clemson did not play their best game against the Tar Heels and that style points is oh so important to the AP Poll voters. The drop in the polls were expected. Never mind Clemson came back and totally destroyed Florida State. Never mind Clemson is on a 21 game winning streak. The only game the pollsters are looking at is the 1-point victory over an unranked UNC team.
Let’s go into it a little further. ESPN pulls no punches in it’s daily euphoric unashamed promotion of the SEC. This “sponsorship” began back in 2008 when ESPN signed a 15-year deal with the SEC. That deal has been extended to 2034. The first deal is the one that catapulted the SEC to the top of the college football world we know today. The influx of big money to the conference allowed them to hire better coaches, improve facilities, and gave them the advantage of seeing more SEC games on TV, thus improving recruiting. It’s no secret.
Getting back to Clemson’s drop in the polls, a lot of it is geared around the illusion that the SEC is still the best conference in college football, thus just because teams are in the SEC, top to bottom, they are the best. The SEC is very top heavy and gives the impression since they play in the SEC that they can lose to an unranked team with a losing record and have it viewed as a “tough conference loss” and not really have an affect on their rankings. Realistically, UGA let an unranked SEC team with a 2-3 record come into their home field, and beat them, albeit playing the final 30 minutes against USC’s 3rd string quarterback. Yet, they only dropped to 10th. Sour grapes? Nah, it’s not that, it’s the simple fact that Clemson has won 21 games in a row, and will likely extend that streak to 28 games prior to the College Football Playoffs. Clemson will finish 13-0, winning the ACC Championship….again.
This will be Clemson’s 5th straight ACC Championship. Clemson can not assist other ACC schools in recruiting. They can not help coach the other teams. Clemson can only play the teams on their schedule and play the best they can each and every game. This prediction could be wrong and Clemson could slip up before the end of the season, but, not likely. However, having said all this, the college football playoff poll comes out November the 5th. Until then, the AP Poll, the Coaches Poll, the ESPN poll, and every other poll out there gives the fans something to talk about, the media something to fill their programs, and allows teams to use them as bulletin board material for motivation. In essence, the College Football Playoff Committee does the playoff rankings, and will do so 5 times before the final four are selected. Clemson “should” be included. Seriously, how do you leave out the defending National Champion who has won 28 games in row simply because they don’t play in the SEC? You can’t. Clemson has 6 games plus the ACC Championship game to get those “style points” mentioned earlier. Gonna be a fun ride for tiger fans.