At minimum two of the four groups ahead of Clemson in the rankings will not end the year undefeated, as all 4 of them play a single one more (LSU at Alabama on Saturday, Penn State at Ohio Point out on November 23).
Even with Clemson now outside of the top four, as long as the Tigers continue to take care of business they should be fine.
The College Football Playoff rankings before the final call on December 8 are more entertainment than anything but they do provide some insight into the mind of the 13 Playoff committee members.
In addition to look on video, both Alabama and Clemson have rated ahead of Penn State in metrics such as the ESPN-housed Football Power Index and SP+ but both are at least 20 spots behind Penn State in strength of schedule so far per Sagarin (Penn State - 39; Alabama - 59; Clemson - 64).
Penn State (8-0) can play the strength-of-victory card knowing they beat No. 14 MI (7-2), No. 18 Iowa (6-2) and have a date with No. 17 Minnesota (8-0) this weekend. But that situation seems similar to the one Penn State faces now. "In the beginning of my career, it was, 'They'll never be a great ACC team in the playoff.' 'They don't play anybody.' Well, now we have become a dominant team in the postseason, and now we only win because we don't play anybody", Swinney said. Those teams could include teams such as No. 6 Georgia (7-1), No. 7 OR (7-1), No. 8 Utah (7-1) and No. 9 Oklahoma (7-1).
"After Week 10, the Committee felt Penn State was a notch above [Clemson]". We got to keep playing better. Florida (7-2)11. Auburn (7-2) 12. This game also could have major Heisman Trophy implications for LSU quarterback Joe Burrow and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, assuming Tagovailoa plays after missing most of the Crimson Tide's last two games with a high ankle sprain. The Tigers' only shot for a ranked win may come against Wake Forest in Week 12.
"We had a lengthy discussion about Penn State and Clemson". It would start by winning out, seeing Georgia lose two regular-season games and then UF either beating Alabama or LSU in the SEC Championship Game. Considering Clemson won the National Championship last season, some find it shocking they aren't cracking a berth right now. "At the end of the season, people will count up where we're at and where they have us and tell us where we're going to go, and we'll be excited about going there".
Clemson at SC. Minnesota has also begun the season 8-0.