Chuck Burton/Associated Press
This is impossible, right? Clemson, which is in the same division as Florida State, in the playoff?
By picking Clemson to have even an outside shot at a playoff appearance, I've officially sounded the death knell for the Tigers, who will now undoubtedly finish 7-5.
For that, Tigers fans, I am truly sorry.
But here's why Clemson could be an intriguing team: It starts on defense, where the Tigers have one of the more athletic defensive lines in college football. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables has been overshadowed by his offensive counterpart, Chad Morris, but his group could be ahead of the offense.
On that note, the Tigers offense is replacing quarterback Tajh Boyd and receiver Sammy Watkins, and now running back Zac Brooks is out for the season with a foot injury. This is an important year for Morris, who will be in charge of showing he can plug and play anyone in his scheme and get results.
Clemson's schedule is intriguing, but its playoff chances likely come down to three games: the season opener at Georgia, the Sept. 20 game at Florida State and the season-ending game against South Carolina. If Clemson finishes 11-1, it could realistically be in the playoff discussion regardless of whether it wins its own division.
It would certainly need help if it doesn't win its division, but this team would still be in the conversation.
Getting two teams from the same conference in the playoff could be hard. Getting two teams from the ACC into the playoff would blindside just about everyone. That means, at a minimum, two power conferences would be shut out of the playoff pool.