090421 Charlotte: Georgia running back Kendall Milton finds some room to run against Clemson during the first quarter in a NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept 4, 2021, in Charlotte. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

CFP Rankings: Clemson’s gripe and possible Georgia semifinal opponents

ATHENS — Kirby Smart probably still hasn’t bothered to look at the CFP rankings yet, as it’s his style to stay consumed with the task at hand.

The undefeated Bulldogs continue to be ranked No. 1 in the most recent CFP rankings, followed by …

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No. 2 Ohio State 11-0

No. 3 Michigan 11-0

No. 4 TCU 11-0

No. 5 LSU 9-2

No. 6 USC 10-1

No. 7 Alabama 9-2

No. 8 Clemson 10-1

No. 9 Oregon 9-2

No. 10 Tennessee 9-2

While Smart has said he pays no attention to the field, it’s a sure bet he has delegated that responsibility to someone else, as Georgia will closely watch potential opponents.

Clemson would seem to be the most likely semifinal opponent for UGA if the Bulldogs win out playing out different scenarios, but there’s also a chance it could be Ohio State or USC (see below).

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On Monday night, Clemson seemed to be the team with the biggest gripe in these most recent rankings as a head-to-head resume comparison with LSU reveals.

The first question CFP chairman Boo Corrigan was asked during the weekly teleconference that follows the release of the rankings was how LSU’s Tigers could be ranked ahead of Clemson’s.

Both teams have a blowout loss — LSU at home to No. 10 Tennessee (40-13), Clemson on the road at No. 15 Notre Dame (35-14) — but Clemson won at Florida State (34-28), while LSU lost to the Seminoles in New Orleans (24-23).

“LSU, since that loss to Florida State, (it’s) the way that they’ve played and the way they’ve continued to improve; the win over Alabama, the convincing win over Mississippi, are two things that we’ve really looked at,” Corrigan said.

" With regard to Clemson … 6-1 against teams over .500 (and) two ranked teams are in there.”

The difference is LSU’s quality win over Alabama, which the CFP committee continues to think so highly of that they have the two-lossTide ranked No. 7 — one spot ahead of one-loss Clemson.

The question of TCU being ranked behind Ohio State and Michigan also came up, and the response seemed to leave the door open for the Horned Frogs possibly jumping the Wolverines but not the Buckeyes in undefeated scenarios.

“When you look at the balance of Ohio State, the balance of Michigan, TCU is 8-0 against teams above .500, which is really impressive,” Corrigan said.

“But again, as we look at their ability to come back in games where to a large degree Ohio State and Michigan have not, and as I said last week, that win over Notre Dame by Ohio State is an impressive second win on top of the Penn State win.”

Corrigan is referring to “game control” in that reference to TCU having to come back to get wins, while Ohio State and Michigan — for the most part — have not been in that situation.

Crystal Ball

Teams that control their own destiny and will make CFP by winning out: Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan TCU, USC and LSU.

Crystal Ball

(Three most likely scenarios)

Scenario One

1. Georgia

2. Ohio State

3. TCU

4. Clemson

Scenario: Georgia, Ohio State, TCU win out, USC loses to Notre Dame at home on Saturday or loses to Oregon/Utah in Pac-12 Championship Game

Scenario Two

1. Georgia

2. Michigan

3. TCU

4. Ohio State

Scenario: Georgia, Michigan, TCU, Ohio State. One-loss Buckeyes get nod over one-loss Clemson because Ohio State beat Notre Dame earlier this season and Clemson lost to Irish.

Scenario Three

1. Georgia

2. Ohio State

3. USC

4. TCU

Scenario: Georgia, Ohio State, USC and TCU win out, Trojans jumped Horned Frogs into No. 3 spot on strength of wins over Notre Dame and in Pac-12 title game over Oregon/Utah.

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