Clemson South Carolina Football

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, front left, celebrates with players after a 38-3 win at South Carolina on Saturday. 

This one is going to be kept short.

Hopefully, almost assuredly, it’ll take you less time to read than it took Popeyes of Syracuse to give me a chicken sandwich Saturday night.

But I’m not spicy.

The top teams held serve this weekend, for the most part. All of them in pretty emphatic fashion.

Here’s the ballot I filed this week:

1. Clemson (12-0)

Last week: won at South Carolina 38-3

Next: vs. Virginia in ACC championship (Charlotte)

2. LSU (12-0)

Last week: beat Texas A&M 50-7

Next: vs. Georgia in SEC championship (Atlanta)

3. Ohio State (12-0)

Last week: won at Michigan 56-27

Next: vs. Wisconsin in Big Ten championship (Indianapolis)

4. Georgia (11-1)

Last week: won at Georgia Tech 52-7

Next: vs. LSU in SEC championship (Atlanta)

5. Utah (11-1)

Last week: beat Colorado 45-15

Next: vs. Oregon in Pac-12 championship (Dec. 6 in Santa Clara, Calif.)

My take: The closest game from this cluster was … Utah being down 7-0 after the first quarter or Ohio State only being up 28-17 at halftime?

Doesn’t really matter.

It seems clear-cut to me — Clemson and Ohio State need to hold serve in conference championships to punch their tickets to the CFP. If Georgia beats LSU, the SEC will have two CFP teams. If LSU wins, it’ll come down to style points between Utah and Oklahoma (given neither drops its conference championship).

I’d be in favor of an eight-team playoff in most seasons. This isn’t one of them. Throw the top three teams in there with whatever wildcard entry grabs the last spot and let’s roll.

6. Oklahoma (11-1)

Last week: won at Oklahoma State 34-16

Next: vs. Baylor in Big 12 championship (Arlington, Texas)

7. Florida (10-2)

Last week: beat Florida State 40-17

Next: bowl game

8. Notre Dame (10-2)

Last week: won at Stanford 45-24

Next: bowl game

9. Wisconsin (10-2)

Last week: won at Minnesota 38-17

Next: vs. Ohio State in Big Ten championship (Indianapolis)

10. Baylor (11-1)

Last week: won at Kansas 61-6

Next: vs. Oklahoma in Big 12 championship (Arlington, Texas)

My take: Tried for some corrections here, hopefully didn’t overcorrect.

Florida bumps up a little and Wisconsin bumps up a lot — the Gators more because of what they’ve done consistently all season, the Badgers because of how they dismantled Minnesota on the road.

I’m assuming I’m higher on Notre Dame than most, but sweeping the Virginia ACC schools and beating Louisville, along with blowouts of bowl-eligible teams like Navy and Boston College, are convincing enough for me.

11. Penn State (10-2)

Last week: beat Rutgers 27-6

Next: bowl game

12. Auburn (9-3)

Last week: beat Alabama 48-45

Next: bowl game

13. Oregon (10-2)

Last week: beat Oregon State 24-10

Next: vs. Utah in Pac-12 championship (Dec. 6 in Santa Clara, Calif.)

14. Alabama (10-2)

Last week: lost at Auburn 48-45

Next: bowl game and for the love of God, recruiting a kicker

15. Minnesota (10-2)

Last week: lost to Wisconsin 38-17

Next: bowl game and finding its boat

My take: Alabama’s résumé really is awful. The Tide’s best win is against a Texas A&M that went 7-5 and yes, all five of those losses are to great teams — but the Aggies were still seven and five. That’s a bowl-game loss away from being pretty awful for the resources that school has put into football.

But I digress.

Minnesota … ho-hum.

16. Memphis (11-1)

Last week: beat Cincinnati 34-24 (Nov. 29)

Next: vs. Cincinnati in AAC championship

17. Michigan (9-3)

Last week: lost to Ohio State 56-27

Next: bowl game

18. Boise State (11-1)

Last week: won at Colorado State 31-24 (Nov. 29)

Next: vs. Hawaii in Mountain West championship

19. Appalachian State (11-1)

Last week: won at Troy 48-13 (Nov. 29)

Next: vs. Louisiana in Sun Belt championship (Boone)

20. Iowa (9-3)

Last week: won at Nebraska 27-24 (Nov. 29)

Next: bowl game

My take: Memphis mightcould be higher. If it beats Cincinnati again in the AAC championship — ye olde “it’s hard to beat a good twice, let alone in back-to-back weeks” theory — probably will bump them up several spots.

I’ll admit I have no idea what to do with Iowa. Every time I’ve thought they weren’t that good, they’ve been solid. Every time I’ve thought they’re good, been unimpressive. Every time I’ve thought they’re a bad team, they’ve beaten somebody I didn’t think they would.

So it’ll make sense for them to be paired up against Wake Forest … [insert eyes emoji].

Louisiana-App State in Boone for the Sun Belt championship again — maybe App’s coach is on his way out again, too.

I did live in Arkansas for 3½ months, have I ever mentioned that?

21. Virginia (9-3)

Last week: beat Virginia Tech 39-30 (Nov. 29)

Next: vs. Clemson in ACC championship (Charlotte)

22. USC (8-4)

Last week: off

Next: bowl game and … actually keeping Clay Helton around?

23. Cincinnati (10-2)

Last week: lost at Memphis 34-24 (Nov. 29)

Next: at Memphis in AAC championship

24. Kansas State (8-4)

Last week: beat Iowa State 27-17

Next: bowl game

25. SMU (10-2)

Last week: beat Tulane 37-20

Next: bowl game

My take: The most-surprising result of the entire weekend for me was Virginia beating Virginia Tech. I thought that Hokies team was on a roll and wasn’t going to be stopped — regardless of the streak, just thought they looked like the best non-Clemson ACC team.

I forgot how good Bryce Perkins could be, and hence, am an idiot.

Had one of these openings reserved for Iowa State in my mind, which if you’ve read along all year you know I’ve got a soft spot for, but I’ve got no qualms throwing in the team that beat the Cyclones in here.

On the cusp (in no particular order):

Air Force (10-2)

Last week: beat Wyoming 20-6

Next: bowl game

Dropped out:

22. Virginia Tech (8-4)

Last week: lost at Virginia 39-30 (Nov. 29)

Next: bowl game

24. Oklahoma State (8-4)

Last week: lost to Oklahoma 34-16

Next: bowl game

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