The College Football Playoff committee will release its first ranking of the season Tuesday, and Jerry Hinnen doesn’t expect Ohio State, LSU, TCU or Baylor to be ranked No. 1.
No, he believes that honor will go to Clemson (7-0).
“Right now, their resume, top to bottom, amongst the undefeated teams, is the best one out there,” the CBSSports.com college football writer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “They beat Notre Dame. They absolutely annihilated Miami last Saturday. They basically single handedly put the final nail in the Al Golden tenure’s coffin. Winning at Louisville is not a bad win. They sort of looked a little bit sloppy there, but they got it done. Georgia Tech is a team that’s better than their record. They won that game very handily. I know it’s not a resume that pops off the page necessarily, but again, neither does LSU’s necessarily. Neither do some of the undefeated teams. Ohio State, who have they beaten necessarily? I think when all is said and done, the College Football Playoff is going to have Clemson in that No. 1 spot.”
The Tigers survived a scare against Notre Dame this season, nearly coughing up a 15-point fourth-quarter lead. The Irish threw all over Clemson in the second half but elected to run the ball on a potential game-tying two-point conversion with seven seconds left.
Scott Ferrall still can’t get over that play call.
“Well, I felt like the play-call maybe would have worked,” Hinnen said. “The offensive line did not execute very well. They had missed a couple of blocks there that I think they could have made. For my money, I don’t know if the play call was the problem as much as the execution. But you’re right. After you’ve had as much success as DeShone Kizer had in that second half. I think you maybe want to put the ball in his hands, let him throw it, let him run it, if he’s got the option there. So you can definitely second-guess it.”
Clemson has just one ranked team remaining on its regular-season schedule: a home game against No. 17 Florida State (6-1) on Nov. 7.
“I’m not going to doubt Clemson,” Hinnen said. “I tried that earlier this season. I thought Georgia Tech might upset them. I predicted Notre Dame would win that game. I had the Irish in that one. I’m done doubting Clemson. Dabo Swinney, he’s a guy who, honestly, people have been doubting him since the day he was hired. People were like, ‘Oh, he’s just a recruiter. Oh, he’s just a special teams coach.’ And they’ve been phenomenal. He has one of the most consistent programs week in and week out. I’m done doubting Clemson. I think when you’ve got a quarterback as steady as Deshaun Watson and you’ve got a defense as well coached as Brent Venables coaching his defense, it makes sense that you’re not as vulnerable (to upsets).”