NCAA Re-rank: Alabama’s No. 1 but Clemson is making its case as top 25 jumbles


Alabama’s 29-0 shutout of LSU solidified the Crimson Tide’s ownership of the top spot in the USA TODAY Sports college football re-rank. No. 1 heading into the weekend, the Tide have done nothing to justify any movement in the rankings.

But the chase for No. 1 isn’t as clear-cut as you might think. As Alabama rolls, so does the program’s fierce national rival, No. 2 Clemson, which is in the midst of an equally dominant run through the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Clemson has defeated its last four opponents by the combined score of 240-36, the latest Saturday’s 77-16 drubbing of hapless Louisville. Since a narrow win against Syracuse, the Tigers have looked every part of a team capable of upending the Tide.

Like Alabama, the Tigers own five wins against teams currently with a winning record. When the latest College Football Playoff rankings are released on Tuesday, Clemson should have two wins against teams in the top 25 — Syracuse and North Carolina State — to Alabama’s one, against LSU.

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This isn’t to say that Alabama hasn’t earned the right to stand atop the re-rank, especially after Saturday’s strong performance in one of college football’s most intimidating environments. But Clemson has a case for No. 1 and has no competition for No. 2. As expected back in August, the championship race is no focused almost solely on the Tigers and Crimson Tide.

New to the top 25: No. 16 Boston College, No. 17 Washington, No. 20 Michigan State, No. 21 Buffalo, No. 22 Syracuse, No. 24 Auburn and No. 25 Oregon

Out of the top 25: No. 26 Penn State, No. 27 Iowa, No. 31 Utah, No. 33 Georgia Southern, No. 38 Houston, No. 39 Stanford and No. 40 Virginia

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