Clemson has this crazy idea that nobody expected it to be back here.
The Tigers seem to think that everyone had cast them aside once the Gainesville Gasher, quarterback Deshaun Watson, left for the NFL.
But here Clemson (11-1, 7-1 ACC) is again, No. 1 in the playoff rankings, playing the Miami Hurricanes (10-1, 7-1, CFP No. 7) for its third straight ACC Championship on Saturday night and a spot in the bigger tournament.
Now, it’s Kelly Bryant at the controls, fully demonstrating that the Tigers are larger than any dependence upon a single player.
Bryant, a 6-foot-4-inch, 220-pound junior emerged from nowhere to be an efficient-enough thrower and a superior runner.
The Hurricanes are making their first appearance in the ACC title game since joining the conference in 2004.
Big 12: Baker Mayfield has come a long way since being the first true freshman walk-on quarterback to start a season opener for an FBS team when he started for Texas Tech in 2013.
‘‘This final stretch of my college career is coming down to the wire. I try to enjoy every moment,’’ he said. ‘‘But winning makes it a lot more fun.”
The Sooners (11-1, 8-1 Big 12, No. 3 CFP) go into Saturday’s game in position to make the four-team College Football Playoff for the second time in Mayfield’s three seasons if they beat TCU (9-2, 7-2, No. 11 CFP) for the second time in four weeks.
Big Ten: Ohio State backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins will be ready if starter J.T. Barrett can’t go in the Big Ten title game against Wisconsin (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten, CFP No. 4).
Barrett says he is healthy enough to play after missing the end of last week’s game with a knee problem. The Buckeyes (10-2, 8-1, CFP No. 8) could use his mobility against one of the nation’s stingiest defenses but Haskins is coming off a strong showing against Michigan, when he rallied Ohio State past its biggest rival.
Pac-12: The Stanford team that walked out of the Los Angeles Coliseum nearly three months ago after being overpowered by Southern Cal seemed an unlikely pick to get a rematch with the Trojans.
An improved defense and the switch at quarterback to K.J. Costello are the biggest differences for the 14th-ranked Cardinal (9-3, 7-2 Pac-12, No. 12 CFP) heading into Friday night’s title game at Levi’s Stadium against No. 11 USC (10-2, 8-1, No. 10).