Clemson Football: Ranking College Football resumes after Week 4

Last week, we looked at the ‘way too early’ assessment of resumes, including Clemson football. It was way too early because most power teams have been playing Group of Five and FCS teams that don’t give you a great idea of who they really are, even if they are blowing them out by fifty.

You might not think that one more week makes a big difference for resumes, but you might be surprised at how the resume scores have changed since this weekend, especially if you are a fan of Clemson.

To review, the resume score is based on a simple formula of wins or losses, considering the strength of the opponent (AP Top 25, Power Five, Group of Five or FCS) and the location (home, away or neutral). I make small adjustments here and there, primarily when neutral contests aren’t truly neutral, like Georgia or Georgia Tech playing at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta or LSU playing in New Orleans.

Something else that we will see impact scores this week: some teams drop out of the Top 25, while others enter it. From the perspective of the CFP committee, it’s not about what we thought of a team back when you beat them, it’s about what we know about them now. Teams that had wins over teams that drop out of the Top 25 don’t get as much credit as they used to get. Other teams will benefit from teams entering the Top 25. I don’t ding them as much for losing to a Top 25 team as I do for losing to a regular Power Five opponent.

The AP Top Five hasn’t changed since last week. How have the resume scores changed?

Georgia – AP Rank: 1st, Resume score: 14

The Bulldogs score improved modestly from last week with a win over Kent State. Was it a dominant performance? No. From a resume perspective, it didn’t need to be. An eye test assessment would say the performance wasn’t inspiring, but only people grasping at straws will be too worried about this game when the playoff rankings get started in November.

Alabama – AP Rank: 2nd, Resume score: 13

The resume score giveth, and then it taketh away. The Tide earned a win over a Power Five opponent this weekend. It was Vanderbilt, but they are still Power Five and frankly not a bad team compared to past Vandy squads. Alabama’s gains are offset by the unfortunate reality that the Texas Longhorns lost to Texas Tech, thus getting them booted from the Top 25. That victory in Austin doesn’t carry the same weight as it did last week.

Ohio State – AP Rank: 3rd, Resume score: 10

The Buckeyes get their second Power Five home victory of the season. They will have a chance at a third this coming weekend. That’s right America: Ohio State has yet to face an opponent, any opponent, on the road this year. Their resume is only going to get so far until they finally leave The Horseshoe.

Michigan – AP Rank: 4th, Resume score: 9

The Wolverines had the worst resume score in the Top 5 last week. They still do because they also have not traveled from their home stadium this season. Unlike the Buckeyes, they will take their first road trip of the year when they venture to Iowa this Saturday.

Clemson – AP Rank: 5th, Resume score: 16.25

If you want to improve your resume score, play a Top 25 team on the road and win. That is exactly what Clemson did. It doesn’t matter that it was in overtime. It doesn’t matter that they didn’t cover the spread. It doesn’t matter that the cornerbacks got torched. The eye test scorekeepers can fixate over those details. Clemson won on the road against a team that remained in the Top 25. They now have the best resume in the nation.

If we rank the teams by resume score, this is your Top 25:

1 – Clemson: 16.25

T2 – USC: 16

T2 – Penn State: 16

4 – Tennessee: 15

5 – Florida State: 14.5

T6 – Georgia: 14

T6 – Kansas: 14

8 – Alabama: 13

T9 – Kentucky: 11

T9 – Ole Miss: 11

T9 – Syracuse: 11

T9 – TCU: 11

T9 – UCLA: 11

T14 – Ohio State: 10

T14 – NC State: 10

16 – Oregon: 9.75

T17 – Michigan: 9

T17 – Washington: 9

T17 – BYU: 9

T17 – Minnesota: 9

T17 – Coastal Carolina: 9

T22 – Baylor: 8

T22 – Oklahoma: 8

T22 – Middle Tennessee: 8

T22 – Mississippi State: 8

T22 – Tulane: 8

The committee will still use eye test which could be a challenge for Clemson football, but probably not as much as the AP or the public

As we proceed farther into the season, the ‘resume top 25’ will begin to resemble the AP Top 25 much more closely. As we approach the first CFP rankings in November, we will also be able to use the resume scores to get a better idea of how the CFP rankings might differ from the AP Top 25.

The committee will still use eye test, but probably not as much as the AP or the public. If they rank a team a few spots higher than the other polls & ranking systems, there is a pretty good chance that team has gotten credit for a better resume. Conversely, some teams might be a little lower because they look dominant but haven’t played the toughest schedule.

This weekend will be another big game for Clemson, as they face NC State at Death Valley. Wake Forest doesn’t get a break either, now traveling to Tallahassee to face the Seminoles. We noted that Michigan will play a road game for the first time this season. Other big games include Alabama at Arkansas, Kentucky at Ole Miss and Oklahoma State at Baylor. We could see more big moves next week.