No. 2 Clemson lost Saturday at home, 43-42, to unranked Pitt, and that can only help the top teams in the Big Ten as they try to navigate the musical chairs of the College Football Playoff.
Chris Blewitt did NOT blow it!
With :06 left, Pitt's kicker nails a 48-yard FG to give the Panthers a 43-42 stunner at No. 2 Clemson. pic.twitter.com/mqDz7RhwFG
— ESPN (@espn) November 13, 2016
In the short term, Clemson’s loss means there will likely be two Big Ten teams in the top-4 of the CFP rankings. Michigan should move up to No. 2 as long as they take care of business against Iowa Saturday night, while Ohio State will likely take the coveted fourth spot after its second straight 62-3 win, this time against Maryland.
CFB playoff picture as of right now:
4. Ohio State
2 from Big Ten, 1 from Pac-12 and SEC.
— Brandon Justice (@LandOfJustice) November 13, 2016
There is a small chance Clemson retains the fourth spot, but the CFP committee has demonstrated with previous rankings that they consider the Big Ten the top conference in the nation, with four teams in the top 10 of last week’s rankings.
Penn State, currently ranked 10th but set to move up after No. 9 Auburn’s 13-7 loss, is also a much more explainable loss than to a 6-4 Pitt. Granted, Penn State lost to Pitt earlier in the season, but Pitt has demonstrated since then they are a limited team.
Peeking ahead to CFP selection day, this also significantly increases the chances of the Big Ten getting two teams into the playoffs. Michigan could conceivably lose to Ohio State and still make the final four, while No. 7 Wisconsin might also have a path if they were to win out and prevail in the Big Ten Championship game.
I feel like the Clemson loss helps Michigan more than any other team out there. IF OSU beats them, that is huge for them.
— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) November 13, 2016
It is important to note that there is much football left to be played, and upsets happen. But it’s very hard to spin the occurrences Saturday as anything but a positive for a Big Ten Conference that has had so much go right this season.