Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney celebrates after the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Alabama, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. Clemson beat Alabama 44-16. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

ACC Path To The Playoffs

With only two games remaining in college football’s regular season, the playoff picture is beginning to take shape. In the ACC, there seem to be only two likely contenders who could garb a playoff spot: Clemson and North Carolina. The two will clash in the ACC Championship game on December 3rd.

Clemson Tigers: A Familiar Face

The Tigers are no strangers when it comes to the college football playoffs. Since its debut in 2015, Clemson has been in 6 of the 8 total playoffs. Of the 6 appearances, they managed to win 2 national titles. In a year where many top teams have a loss, this Tigers team has a shot of making the postseason. This past weekend, they were named ACC Atlantic champions.

If they want to be considered, they must beat Miami and South Carolina to close out the regular season. they then have to beat UNC in the ACC Championship game. This is all doable, as they are favored in the three upcoming games.

Clemson suffered their first loss of the season to Notre Dame. It was by a significant margin and pushed them down in the rankings. Their offense needs to step up in these last few games because they will be met by a high-scoring team in UNC.

North Carolina Tarheels: Against The Odds

UNC is having a much better season than expected. The Tarheels are officially the ACC Coastal champions. They are led by Heisman-contending quarterback Drake Maye. Maye has thrown for 3412 yards and leads the nation in touchdowns with 34. He’s been efficient, only throwing three interceptions the entire season. The Tarheels will count on him to put points on the board against Clemson.

North Carolina has a very similar path to the playoffs as Clemson. They must beat Georgia Tech and NC State, and then defeat the Tigers in the championship. The likely hood that a 1-loss UNC team makes the playoffs is pretty high, assuming they win the ACC.

Similar to Clemson, UNC’s sole loss of the season came to Notre Dame. They have been in numerous dogfights, but in the end, have yet to lose a conference game.

ACC Championship Projection

The ACC Championship is only a few weeks away. The game will be played at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlette, North Carolina. This matchup will be critical as to whether the ACC will send a team into the playoffs. The two teams have not met this season. Their most recent game was in 2019, where Clemson defeated UNC. The Tarheels’ offense is sure to be explosive, so it will be critical for the Tigers to defend at a high level.

About Daniel Haviv

Hello, my name is Daniel Haviv and I'm a junior sports journalism student at the University of Florida. As a sports writer, I have published content on a multitude of different sports across all levels. Additionally, I was a beat reporter for the Gators Men's Basketball team for the 2022-2023 season. Game-day previews and post-game articles are featured.

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