This is a reader submitted guest post… enjoy!
The ACC is back in the national spotlight because the conference has several good football teams this season and could become the first conference to have two teams in the College Football Playoffs. The conferences success has improved NCAA football lines for some teams, and shed the spotlight on the ACC football like never before.
Going into the season, it was expected that Florida State and Clemson would be the two teams competing for a chance at the playoffs from the ACC. However, Florida State has been inconsistent, and Louisville emerged as a legitimate contender in the conference.
Louisville hot start to the season included a beat down of Florida State, which helped to legitimize the Cardinals. Louisville also played Clemson tough before losing their first game of the season, which is why they were able to remain in the top ten after their loss.
With Louisville and Clemson having played each other, the teams won’t meet again this season, unless they both make the playoffs. Clemson has only one game left on its regular season schedule where they won’t be heavily favored. That is against Florida State in Tallahassee. If Clemson wins that game and wins out, it is guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. If the Tigers lose, they can still get into the playoffs as a one-loss team if they can win the ACC championship game.
Since Louisville already has one loss, the team can’t afford any more losses if it still wants to make the playoffs. Louisville also has a chance to improve its playoff chances when the team faces Houston in November, since a win against a team ranked in the top 15 will provide them with a much needed boost in the eyes of the selection committee. Houston losing earlier in the year to Navy wasn’t what Louisville needed, but that will still be a high profile game.
The scenario listed above hinges on both teams finishing their season without another loss, but even if they do, there is no way to determine how the other teams in the top 10 will shake out. This means that even if both teams win out, Louisville in particular certainly will still need some help from the other teams around the country in order for both to make the playoffs.
Fortunately for the Cardinals, Alabama will take on Texas A&M, which means one of the teams will have a loss by the end of the season, and Michigan will play Ohio State. Baylor and West Virginia still have to play each other plus Oklahoma which means the biggest threat to Louisville not making the playoffs right now is Washington, and possibly the loser of the Ohio State Michigan game. Washington still face Utah and the Pac 12 Championship game.
In 2014, Ohio State leap frogged TCU in the rankings in the final week, because they dominated Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game. Things panned out for the Buckeyes that year as they rode their momentum to the championship. This year, the Buckeyes could do the same thing again if they end up losing to Michigan. If the selection committee has a choice between a one-loss Ohio State and a one-loss Louisville team, for the final playoff spot, it’s going be very difficult deciding who gets in.