More likely to make College Football Playoff: Clemson or Ohio State?


Clemson and Ohio State already have one loss but which of these preseason favorites has the best chances of still making the College Football Playoff?

When the preseason college football rankings came out, the top five teams were the teams we expected to see. Alabama at 1, Oklahoma at 2, Clemson at 3, Ohio State at 4 and Georgia at 5. We’ve come to expect dominance from these programs and for them to make a run at the College Football Playoff.

So far, three of those teams have been performing up to expectations, undefeated and dominating competition for the most part. The two that have not are Clemson and Ohio State. Both already suffering a loss, their playoff chances have taken a hit, but they still have a path.

How Clemson makes the playoff

Clemson started the season ranked No. 3 and now enters Week 4 ranked No. 9. They started their season with a loss to currently No. 2 ranked Georgia. In that game, they were dominated by the Bulldogs defense losing 10-3. Since then, they have beat South Carolina State 49-3 and Georgia Tech 14-8.

It’s obvious that with one loss already, Clemson has to win out for a chance at the playoffs. But being back at No. 9, they will have to win their games impressively.

To do that, they’ll need to figure out their offensive struggles. Aside from scoring 49 points against the overmatched SC State, the Tigers have struggled to get going offensively. Highly touted quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has only thrown one touchdown on the year to two interceptions.

If Dabo Swinney and Uiagalelei can get the offense rolling, they should be able to dominate an ACC that is wide open.

How Ohio State makes the playoff

Ohio State came into the year ranked No. 4, they will kickoff Week 4 at No. 10. With a 45-31 victory over Minnesota and a 41-20 victory over Tulsa, it was the 35-28 Week 2 loss to Oregon that is responsible for the Buckeyes sliding down the rankings.

The Buckeyes’ strength is their run game, and while redshirt freshman quarterback CJ Stroud gets most of the criticism for his inconsistent play, the real weakness for Ohio State is their defense.

The Buckeyes defense gave up 31 points and 408 yards in Week 1 to Minnesota and 20 points and 501 yards in Week 3 to Tulsa. In the Week 2 loss to Oregon, Ohio State fell behind early 21-7. Every time C.J. Stroud led the offense to cut the score down to one possession, the Buckeye defense allowed Oregon to stretch it back to two.

If the defense can improve, Ohio State has the schedule in the Big Ten to stack enough quality wins in order to impress the playoff committee.

Who is more likely to make the College Football Playoff?

Despite their early struggles, Clemson has the more likely path to the College Football Playoff. It is more plausible that they can figure out their offensive struggles against ACC opponents that they have dominated over the last half-decade.

Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, the Big Ten has been impressive through the first three weeks of the season. That works in their favor if they are able to run off victories over their conference opponents. That just doesn’t seem like it will be the case with the way their defense has played.

For more NCAA football news, analysis, opinion and unique coverage by FanSided, including Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff rankings, be sure to bookmark these pages.



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