Clemson Football: Way-too-early predictions favor a return to the playoffs for the Tigers in 2024

There is a reason why they are called way-too-early rankings, but three of the five we have right now think Clemson Football is the favorite for the ACC Championship and a return to the playoffs.

Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney admires the Ash Verlander Champions Trophy
Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney admires the Ash Verlander Champions Trophy / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Unio / USA
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Clemson Football finished the 2023 season on a positive note with a win over Kentucky in the Gator Bowl, but the program has higher aspirations for the 2024 season.

Head coach Dabo Swinney has made two moves on his staff to bring in more experience with offensive line coach Matt Luke and defensive ends coach Chris Rumph.

There will be major changes to the structure of college football in 2024. The Power Five will become the Power Four. All four of those conferences – the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, and Big 12 – will be adding new programs.

Arguably, the biggest change will be the expansion of the College Football Playoff to 12 teams.

It is never too early to look ahead, and several outlets have already published a ‘way-too-early’ Top 25 for 2024.

The obvious question for Clemson is if they can qualify for the new playoff in a landscape that will be very different than in 2023. It is expected that the CFP will take the five highest-ranked conference champions as automatic qualifiers, with the top four teams owning the top four seeds and a bye into the quarterfinals, regardless of ranking.

There are five too-early rankings out there right now, and though none of them project Clemson to be ranked higher than 10th, three of them believe the Tigers will be part of the playoff.

Athlon Sports: Ranked 13th, No. 3 CFP seed

Bleacher Report: Ranked 10th, No. 3 CFP seed

Longhorns Wire: Ranked 20th, not included in the CFP

Sporting News: Ranked 16th, not included in CFP

The fifth outlet: Ranked 18th, No. 4 CFP seed

This assumes that if an outlet has Clemson as the highest-ranked ACC team they expect the Tigers to win the conference championship. The two outlets that do not have Clemson as the highest-ranked ACC team have them ranked behind Florida State.

The fact that two outlets project Clemson as high as a 3-seed despite being ranked 10th or higher tells you how much these way-too-early predictions are counting on the SEC and Big Ten to dominate the rankings next season.

Following the national championship tonight between Michigan and Washington, other outlets will likely begin announcing their way-too-early rankings.