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ACC alters schedule and potentially locks up two College Football Playoff bids

The ACC makes it so that their 10-game schedule is now just a nine-game schedule for the top three teams. Did they do this to lock others out of the College Football Playoff?

Clemson running back Travis Etienne and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence wave after defeating Pittsburgh 52-17 in their last home game with the team at Memorial Stadium. Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Some late-season scheduling moves by the ACC today have certainly made the path brighter for their two teams in the Top 10 of the College Football Playoff. It also potentially locked some other conferences out of reaching the final four themselves.

These adjustments mean that Notre Dame (8-0 in ACC) is in the ACC Championship Game even if they lose to Syracuse this Saturday, December 5th. The would hold all the tiebreakers even if they lost to the Orange (SPOILER ALERT: They will not lose to the Orange).

It also means Clemson (8-1 in the ACC) will be in the ACC Championship as well with a win over Virginia Tech on Saturday night.

But if Clemson loses as a 22.5 point favorite on Saturday at Virginia Tech, then Miami (6-1 ACC) will be in the championship if they beat both Duke on Dec. 5th, and the North Carolina on December 12th. The tiebreaker between Clemson and Miami is Clemson’s 42-17 win over Miami on October 10th.

So what does all this mean? It would appear that the ACC has a very good chance of getting two teams in the College Football Playoff for the first time. With #2 Notre Dame facing #3 Clemson in Charlotte, a close rematch of their double-overtime game in South Bend earlier this year would seem to give both teams the inside track to the semifinals.

And during the Playoff if the Tigers and Fighting Irish matched up again, it would be two teams playing each other for a third time in a single season for the first time in the Poll Era of college football. All this in Notre Dame’s first and last season as a member of a conference.

Finally: Something cool about 2020.