The biggest game of the weekend in the ACC will take place at 8:00 on ABC on Saturday night when Clemson plays at Florida State. Usually, this game decides the winner of the Atlantic Division. That is unlikely to happen this year, but the game will still have an impact on the division and the College Football Playoff. The country will be watching this game, but Louisville fans will undoubtedly take an interest in it. But the question is…who the heck do we even want to win this game?
I have gone back and forth in my head all week. I have heard arguments to support both sides and why a win by either one would benefit the Cards. As I type this sentence, I am still torn. Maybe by the end of the post, I will know who I want to win. Let me refer to a couple of people that are smarter than me when it comes to this stuff, and it’s good because each of them told me a different answer when I asked who Louisville fans should be cheering for.
ESPN.com’s Andrea Adelson told me the following:
“Clemson. Louisville’s best chance is with an unbeaten Clemson. Can’t see 1-loss Clemson and 1-loss Louisville as options, at least at this point. The flip side is to hope for Clemson to lose twice. Then obviously, UofL would be in the driver’s seat and would have a good shot at the playoff as the 1-loss conference champion.”
Kelly Dickey is the stat guru in these parts, so his opinion is highly respected. He makes the argument for Florida State.
“Louisville fans should 100% be rooting for Florida State to beat Clemson. Any weight given to the strength of Louisville’s one loss is far outweighed by the possibility of Louisville surpassing Clemson in the rankings. A Clemson loss at Florida State might be enough by itself to make that happen, and it at least puts Clemson just one more loss away from definitely falling behind a 1-loss Louisville in the rankings.”
I simply do not know. I wish I did. But there is just too much football left to be played. After this weekend, Clemson still plays Syracuse, Pittsburgh, at Wake Forest, and South Carolina. The South Carolina game obviously doesn’t matter. If Florida State beats Clemson, we would still need them to lose another conference game. Can Syracuse, Pittsburgh, or Wake Forest knock them off? Possible, but unlikely.
What if Clemson loses to FSU and then loses in the conference championship game? Does Louisville get in? Or does the ACC get left out all-together if Washington and someone like Baylor or West Virginia win out? I just don’t know if we can count on Clemson losing two games. But if FSU takes care of them this weekend, maybe they start to feel the pressure and drop another one. They came awfully close to already losing to NC State. Maybe one of those other ACC teams CAN beat them.
A Florida State win helps Louisville’s strength of schedule because it makes our blowout win over them look better. But if that is the only game Clemson loses, do they still make it in over us because they beat us head to head? Or does the committee recognize that Louisville probably wins that game on a neutral field and was just a few yards from winning the game in Death Valley?
Or maybe we want Clemson to win and continue to win, making our only loss look better. Sure, there has never been a College Football Playoff with two teams in it from the same conference. There have also only been TWO TOTAL College Football Playoffs. That isn’t a lot to go off of.
One thing I am sure of, we want Utah to beat Washington this weekend. As far as Clemson at Florida State? I don’t know. Just too much football left to play out. But this game will definitely have an impact on whether or not the Cards can make their way into that final four. We should have a clearer picture after Saturday night of what we need to happen in these last few weeks. What do you think we want in this game?
And as a reminder, the first College Football Playoff rankings come out on Tuesday, November 1 at 7:00.
Go Cards…Beat Virginia…and hope for chaos!