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The Last Unbeaten Team

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If they were in any other conference, I'd be rooting for Clemson to go undefeated.

It wouldn't be out of any love for the Tigers. True, the last couple of years have pretty much exhausted any hatred generated in the Rick Barnes era, but my general feeling for the folks in South Carolina is complete indifference. They don't have the true underdog status of the Wake Forest football team, and there's no real reason for me to support them. I'd just want to see how long it would take them to crack the Top 5.

Yes, their nonconference schedule was pretty weak. I'd have loved to see them play more capable teams as well. But they're the only undefeated team in the country, at almost halfway through the season, and the AP has them at seventeenth. It's not like they completely shirked any competition - they have wins over 3 SEC teams, 2 ACC teams, and (admittedly) the worse team in the Big 10.

This team is 7th in the current RPI. They've got a tougher SOS at the moment than Wisconsin, Florida, Texas A&M, Ohio State and Kansas - that's half the Top 10. But those five schools were all in the Top 15 in August, and Clemson wasn't. Once again, it's the immutable Law of Polling, stolen from the internet ether:

"The polls aren't about ranking the best teams.  They are about not admitting how poorly selected the original pre-season rankings were."

At this moment, Clemson is better than two-loss Tennessee (Best win, Memphis). They're better than two-loss Alabama, who lost to their only ranked opponent, Notre Dame, by 14. They're better than Duke - don't laugh, that's not as exclusive a club as you may think. They're arguably better than Texas A&M, who couldn't beat the only two real teams on their schedule, and so chased it down with Grambling State. You're going to criticize Clemson's schedule while giving that a free pass? And they're better than Kansas, even if the Associated Press has apparently forgotten about Oral Roberts. Apparently, scheduling patsies is only a negative if you win.

In any other conference, I'd want Clemson to go undefeated. But they're in the ACC, so I only want them to be undefeated for another eight days. It's a shame, really.