Clemson’s ‘Dynasty’ Hits Snag: College Football America Top 30

Clemson Tigers

It’s too early to write any epitaphs for the Clemson football dynasty under Dabo Swinney that dates to the 2015 season. That year the Tigers finally broke through and made it all the way to the College Football Playoff National Championship game, losing to Alabama, 45-40, in the season finale. They’ve been in every college football playoff field since then, winning the whole enchilada twice in 2016 and 2018.

But the Tigers’ overtime loss to NC State on Saturday is notable for the fact that it’s the earliest second loss of the season for the Tigers since 2014. The Tigers started 1-2 that season, with losses to Georgia and Florida State sandwiched around a win over South Carolina State. It’s also the second straight season the Tigers will have at least two losses – the first time that’s happened since a 10-3 finish in that 2014 season that came on the heels of an 11-2 ledger in 2013.

At the root of Clemson’s problems this season is an offense that has sputtered with quarterback DJ Uiagalelei at the controls. The offense has scored 21 or fewer points in three of its first four games, including Saturday’s 27-21 overtime loss to NC State. The last time Clemson scored as few as 21 points in a game came on September 28, 2019, in a 21-20 win over North Carolina. You have to go all the way back to 2017 to find the next two games where the Clemson offense was that unproductive on the scoreboard.

As for the rankings, Clemson’s loss almost certainly knocks the Tigers from the playoff picture and they drop all the way from No. 5 to No. 27 in our latest CFA Top 30 rankings.

The College Football America Top 30

Our top four teams remain unchanged with No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Georgia and No. 3 Oregon leading the way. Oklahoma, meanwhile, still appears to be suspect at No. 4 after eking out a 16-13 win over No. 34 West Virginia at home. Previous No. 6 Texas A&M became the latest victim of the fast-rising Arkansas Razorbacks, who vault from No. 23 to No. 10 in our latest rankings. The Aggies settle in at No. 14.

One-loss Florida jumps three spots to take Clemson’s spot at No. 5, with the Gators’ only loss being a narrow 31-29 setback a week ago to No. 1 Alabama. No. 6 Notre Dame is up one notch after beating Wisconsin at Soldier Field in Chicago, and No. 7 Penn State, No. 8 Ohio State and No. 9 Iowa round out the Top 10 ahead of Arkansas.

Four new teams join the Top 30, led by No. 20 Baylor after the Bears’ big win over Iowa State. No. 21 Boston College joins the party after pulling out a win late at home against No. 29 Missouri. NC State’s overtime win over Clemson moves the Wolfpack into the Top 30 at No. 24. Louisville rounds out the list jumping three spots into the No. 30 slot after beating a reeling Florida State squad.

1. Alabama (4-0)

2. Georgia (4-0)

3. Oregon (4-0)

4. Oklahoma (4-0)

5. Florida (3-1)

6. Notre Dame (4-0)

7. Penn State (4-0)

8. Ohio State (3-1)

9. Iowa (4-0)

10. Arkansas (4-0)

11. Michigan (4-0)

12. Oklahoma State (4-0)

13. Cincinnati (3-0)

14. Texas A&M (3-1)

15. Auburn (3-1)

16. Kentucky (4-0)

17. Michigan State (4-0)

18. Wisconsin (1-2)

19. Indiana (2-2)

20. Baylor (4-0)

21. Boston College (4-0)

22. Miami [FL] (2-2)

23. Boise State (2-2)

24. NC State (3-1)

25. Iowa State (2-2)

26. Ole Miss (3-0)

27. Clemson (2-2)

28. BYU (4-0)

29. Missouri (2-2)

30. Louisville (3-1)

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