Clemson football has made its statement to the College Football Playoff committee. They are 8-0. They have three wins against teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25. They have played three true road games and one ‘neutral site’ game in the home city of their opponent.
There is no ‘official’ system for scoring a team’s resume, but using the unofficial scale I have created, Clemson has the best resume in the country right now, and it isn’t close. Keep in mind that a resume isn’t based on style points, or being biased towards great offense or great defense, star players, or a team’s reputation from years past, at least not directly. Those things might influence AP voters, so they might be relevant to a small extent, but for the most part, they are things I consider to be part of the eye test.
The eye test will most definitely be a consideration for the CFP committee when they release their first edition of the 2022 rankings after next weekend, so I do not think Clemson will be ranked #1. Clemson’s eye test isn’t horrible, but it isn’t nice and polished either. I will make a prediction after next weekend’s games, but right now my guess is that the Tigers will be ranked #3 or #4 in the first rankings.
The opposite situation happens as well: a team scores so high on the eye test that even the CFP committee is blown away by them, even if their resume is a bit, well, unimpressive. That team right now is Ohio State, who look elite against un-elite competition. Fortunately, the committee will be able to see the Buckeyes travel to Happy Valley to face Penn State this weekend.
There are two other factors to consider for Clemson. First, a team gets more respect for wins against ranked opponents than unranked ones. Right now, Clemson has three victories against Top 25 teams. That might not be the case after next weekend. Two of those ranked teams will likely drop out of the rankings if they lose their next game. #24 NC State hosts Virginia Tech, while #16 Syracuse hosts Notre Dame. The Wolfpack is almost a two-touchdown favorite against the Hokies, while the Orange is a small one-point favorite at the time of this writing. Clemson fans may not enjoy rooting for division rivals, but if you want Clemson to have the best resume possible, State and ‘Cuse need victories.
Another reality is that while Clemson is on a bye, some of the teams around them in the polls will be playing to add more to their resume. Several teams, such as Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, and TCU, have already had their bye weeks and will be playing this weekend right before the committee will assemble their rankings.
Clemson might not be set back much by the fact they are off on the weekend before the first rankings, but remember what they say in recruiting: you always want to have the last at-bat. A team making a splash this weekend (like Ohio State boat racing Penn State in their own house) could factor into the committee’s thinking more than an idle Clemson.