After narrowly escaping an embarrassing upset, Clemson was chided by AP Top 25 voters on Sunday. The Tigers, who had been No. 1 since the preseason AP Top 25 College Football Poll in late August, dropped to No. 2.
The new No. 1 is Alabama, who had been right behind Clemson, and gaining favor with AP Top-25 voters in recent weeks.
The Crimson Tide was nibbling away at Clemson’s dominance at the top. Alabama received six, first-place votes in Week 5, one more than they received the previous week. They also closed the gap in total votes as well.
There is now much more parity amongst the top-10 teams. Clemson had 55 of the 62 first-place votes in Week 5, but could only muster 18 of them this week. Alabama received 29, with No. 3 Georgia getting three, and No. 4 Ohio State receiving seven. The Buckeyes moved from fifth to fourth over idle LSU.
AP Top-25 Voters Punish Clemson
Clemson came into its game against North Carolina as a 24-point favorite. The Tar Heels were an enticing +1300 on the moneyline. The betting public hammered Clemson, with Internet betting site, bookmaker.eu, reporting 94 percent of the money was on the Tigers.
That drove the line up to 27 by kickoff. The Tar Heels then nearly upset the No. 1 team in the country. Only a failed two-point conversion at with 1:17 remaining saved Clemson from disaster. They escaped with a 21-20 victory, but may have lost backers in the process.
After the victory, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney lashed out at those who believed the Tigers should win every game by large margins.
“It’s not easy to win,” Swinney said. “I know we’re supposed to destroy everybody, like nobody else has scholarships, nobody else has coaches. It doesn’t work that way. We’re just normal people. There’s nothing special about us. We’re not perfect. We don’t coach perfect. Unfortunately, we don’t play perfect every down, every game, but we found a way to win an ugly game.”
Clemson is 8-2 ATS in its last nine games against its conference. They are also 6-2 in its last eight games, but only 3-2 ATS this season. UNC went to 1-9 straight up against ACC opponents.
Alabama on Top Again
The Crimson Tide haven’t been stellar against the spread either. Alabama was a 38-point favorite against Ole Miss on Saturday. They won convincingly, 59-31, but failed to cover the 38 points. They are now 2-3 this season ATS.
While Clemson has seemed shaky this season, Alabama has been dominant. In its five victories, the Crimson Tide has outscored opponents 259-74. They have margins of victory of 39, 52, 24, 42, and 28. Still, coach Nick Saban told reporters after the game that his team isn’t where it should be.
“We have had some adversity to overcome,” Saban said. “Obviously we are playing some young guys on defense. We are not really satisfied with the way we are playing defense right now, especially today. Especially not being able to stop the run effectively, which is something we have always been able to do around here pretty well. I think that’s a team thing.”