Clemson football: How would the Tigers do in a 64-team 2020 playoff?


Despite no Clemson football spring practice, there are still plenty of ways to kill the time between now and the start of the season in just under six months.

With all Clemson spring sports being canceled and nothing to look forward to until the fall, there are going to be many hypothetical events concocted to pass the time. This is one of them. Instead of having a four-team playoff, what would happen if college football was a 64-team playoff with NCAA tourney seeding and regions?

ESPN took this and made it happen, all based on its 2020 football power index. Their one seeds are nearly similar to the 2019 College Football Playoff seeding as they had Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State as their one seeds.

Current NCAA champion LSU came in as a three seed. With 64 teams, nearly half of the FBS programs would make this tournament and the higher seed would host or would be played at an already established bowl game site. 11 of the 14 ACC football programs would make this event according to ESPN’s FPI – Clemson, UNC, Virginia Tech, FSU, Louisville, Miami, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, NC State, Duke, and Wake Forest.

As they proceed through these fictitious games, they have Clemson beating former offensive coordinator Billy Napier and Louisiana in the first round, Gary Patterson and TCU in the second which sets up a third-round matchup with Michigan.

Spoiler alert, they have Clemson beating Michigan to set up a semi-final rematch with Ohio State and Justin Fields. Somehow despite losing half of their defense to the NFL draft, they think Ohio State would beat Clemson by two touchdowns on their way to beating UGA for a national title.

No one should be shocked by this. ESPN spent all college football season calling Clemson’s win over UNC as an “almost loss” and then went on and on after the Ohio State win about how Clemson was not the better team.

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While all of this is make-believe, what we do know is Clemson has the best offense in the country and the deepest defense a team in college football has ever had. They have three current or future potential Heisman Trophy winners in Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, and D.J. Uiagalelei and losing to Ohio State is something none of us will never see.