Alabama tops Clemson for championship

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and Alabama coach Nick Saban are inching closer and closer to their fourth potential straight meeting. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

CLEMSON — No surprises here. At least with the top two. 

The second installment of the College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night on ESPN, marking the second straight week of the committee unveiling its thought process to the world for college football fans across the country to see. 

Alabama's football team, as expected, is still No. 1. That's what a 9-0 record, a 29-0 dismantling of then-No. 3 LSU on the road in primetime Saturday and the overall eye test will do. Nick Saban's group seems to show no signs of slowing down and it was just Saturday, in Game No. 9 in November, when Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw his first pick of the season. 

Clemson, also as expected, is still No. 2 thanks to a dominant group that is not only just beating teams, but ripping them apart on a weekly basis. The Tigers put up a whopping 77 points on Louisville last week and won by 61 points. Dabo Swinney's Clemson team appears to be ACC Championship-bound, then Playoff bound, as well, if the Tigers continue to perform at the rate they are currently. 

It's No. 3 and No. 4 where things to start to get interesting. 

A week after LSU was ranked No. 3 and Notre Dame was ranked No. 4, it is now the Fighting Irish in that No. 3 slot following LSU's loss and Jim Harbaugh's Michigan team at No. 4. 

That means, if the season were to end today, Alabama would play Michigan and Clemson would match up with Notre Dame. Clemson and Notre Dame most recently played in 2015, in the historic "Monsoon Game" that the Tigers prevailed in, despite then-Gov. Nikki Haley begging fans to stay home from the game to stay safe. It was a 24-22 win for the Tigers against a team loads of football fans would love to see Clemson match up with again. 

As for the rest of the top five, the Playoff committee put Georgia at No. 5, Oklahoma at No. 6, LSU at No. 7, Washington State at No. 8, West Virginia at No. 9 and Ohio State at No. 10. 

Clemson's opponent this week, Boston College, came in at No. 17, meaning a road win, at night, against a ranked team would bode well for the Tigers' resume. Currently Clemson has two wins over top 25 teams, as ranked by the Playoff committee. 

A win Saturday and Clemson clinches the ACC Atlantic Division title and is guaranteed a date in Charlotte for the ACC Championship game. 

"These are obviously the two best teams in the division at this point and we get an opportunity to lock up Saturday night in Boston and kind of settle it on the field," Swinney said. "That's the way it ought to be. 

"Now you're four quarters away from achieving one of our main goals each and every year." 

College Football Playoff Top 25

1. Alabama 

2. Clemson

3. Notre Dame

4. Michigan

5. Georgia

6. Oklahoma

7. LSU

8. Washington State

9. West Virginia

10. Ohio State

11. Kentucky 

12. UCF

13. Syracuse

14. N.C. State

15. Florida

16. Mississippi State

17. Boston College

18. Michigan State

19. Texas

20. Penn State

21. Iowa

22. Iowa State

23. Fresno State

24. Auburn 

25. Washington 

Follow Grace Raynor on Twitter @gmraynor

Grace is the Post and Courier's Clemson reporter. She graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in journalism.