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Clemson is Staying Center Stage

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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The defending national champions, even with an earlier defeat at Syracuse, have a resume that has earned them another chance at contention.

As debate surrounding the College Football Playoff picks up, Clemson should continue to be center stage. The defending national champions, even with an earlier defeat at Syracuse, have a resume that has earned them another chance at contention. Entering the final few weeks of the regular season, Clemson is well positioned to make a third-straight trip to the final four.

The Tigers have four wins over opponents who were ranked in the national top 20 at the time: Auburn, Louisville, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech, with three of those victories coming on the road. Clemson has 40 wins in its last 43 contests, the losses coming by a combined total of just nine points. In many ways, college football's new gold standard is orange.

A September triumph over Auburn, a 14-6 slugfest, featured the home-standing Tigers' defensive prowess with Brent Venables' unit compiling eleven sacks. The more Gus Malzahn's Tigers improve, fresh off a 40-17 upset of top-ranked Georgia, the more valuable the week two win becomes for Clemson. With the Iron Bowl approaching, Auburn will have another chance to make a national move.

After finishing with The Citadel and another test at rival South Carolina, Clemson will face currently unbeaten Miami in a high-profile ACC Championship Game.  Should the Tigers finish November unscathed, the showdown with the Hurricanes would almost certainly serve as a College Football Playoff play-in. In vying for yet another spot in the big dance, Clemson would also be going for a third-straight league crown.  

Where the Tigers slot may change, but, assuming they keep winning, where they end up won't. 

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports