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Football Roundup - Where Do Things Stand For The Playoffs?

Clemson is in the driver's seat.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We’re halfway through November. We can officially start shamelessly speculating about bowl games. We considered moving the roundup back until Tuesday evening, when the committee rankings come out, but doing it now gives us more things to speculate on.

Playoff Contender

Clemson (10-0, 7-0) – Deshaun Watson had 461 total yards, and three touchdowns. Clemson remains undefeated, and Syracuse kept up a season-long pattern of putting up a good fight in a 37-27 Tigers victory.

Playoff Contender?

North Carolina (9-1, 6-0) – You know who else had an awkward Week 1 loss and still made the playoff? Eventual national champions the Ohio State University. I’m not saying UNC is the best team in the nation, but they way they’re playing, if they beat Clemson in the ACC championship and avoid another loss along the way, I’d see no reason not to put a 1-loss ACC champ with wins over Clemson, Pitt, Duke, and Georgia Tech in the playoff.

Bowl Games

Florida State (8-2, 6-2) – Trailed NC State by ten points in the 1st quarter, but came back with 34 unanswered to win, 34-17. I’d put them in the Russell Athletic Bowl, since I see UNC/Clemson in the Playoff and UNC/Clemson in the Peach Bowl.

Pitt (7-3, 5-1) – Carries on the great DBR tradition of not playing anybody, should end up in Pinstripe bowl if all goes well, given it’s in NYC, which will be able to draw more fans from Pittsburg than, say, the TaxSlayer Bowl or Belk Bowl.

Duke (6-4, 3-3) – We SHOULD defeat both UVa and Wake Forest, although at this point, it’s hard to feel comfortable with either game. In any case, both the Belk and Sun bowls have previously hosted entertaining games involving Duke football, so it’s possible we see a return trip to Charlotte or El Paso. However, the TaxSlayer and Music City bowls are all possibilities, since all are reasonably close to Duke’s more localized football fanbase. Also, SEC teams will always come out to hate on Duke.

Louisville (6-4, 5-2) – The Military Bowl makes most sense. Pretty close to the school, one of the ACC middle-of-the-pack bowls, and Louisville represented the American Conference in 2013, which could make for a superficially intriguing storyline.

Virginia Tech Has a Chance

Virginia Tech (5-5, 3-3) – the perfect picture of mediocrity deserves at least a mediocre bowl, and could get there: The Belk Bowl is an option. Took a chance on the mediocre 6-6 Duke team from 2012, and got an entertaining game. Unfortunately, Beamer ball is more likely to produce final scores in the single digits, so they might pass.

Nope Nope Nope

Syracuse, Wake Forest, Virginia, and Georgia tech are all 3-7. They all have conference wins, luckily, which separates them from…

Boston College (3-7, 0-7) – Let’s pretend the Notre Dame game isn’t going to happen, and hope the eagles defeat Syracuse. Going winless in conference wouldn’t be as bad as, say, the Kansas Jayhawks going winless all year, but it still ain’t great.

CFP Speculation

My top six, in order:

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Oklahoma State
  4. Ohio State
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Iowa

Fight me in the comments.