ESPN has laid out a few dream scenarios and disaster scenarios for each Power-5 conference in regards to the College Football Playoff. They laid out fairly simple plan for the SEC already. Now they’ve got one for the ACC it’s pretty straightforward as well.
Clemson loses to South Carolina but wins the ACC. The committee has already forgiven Clemson’s bad loss to Syracuse, which continues to look worse each week. Would it forgive a second loss to an unranked team? The Gamecocks are at least a respectable 8-3 and bowl-bound, unlike 4-7 Syracuse, but would an ACC title be enough to keep Clemson in the top four? If this happened, would the committee consider ignoring the head-to-head result and ranking Miami above Clemson? The committee uses conference championship games and head-to-head results as tiebreakers when it deems résumés and teams comparable. But in this scenario, it’s easy to argue that Miami and Clemson would no longer be comparable because of the Tigers’ second loss.
So basically, the ACC won’t make it in if Clemson loses to South Carolina this weekend and then beats Miami in the ACC Championship Game. The loss to Syracuse already seems to be excused due to quarterback Kelly Bryant ‘s injury for the game. But losing to a team like South Carolina — who is bowl eligible, but not a top tier opponent — would definitely knock them out of Playoff contention.
That would leave Clemson with an 11-2 record and Miami with an 11-1 record since the Hurricanes had a game cancelled due to a hurricane. Should the committee really emphasize the head-to-head matchups and conference championships then Miami could get screwed for taking one loss all year at just the wrong time.