Murray: I Don't Have Clemson In My Top Five

Aaron Murray ranked the top teams in America, and the defending national champions came in sixth

The DA Show
October 02, 2019 - 11:08 am

After needing a defensive stop on a two-point conversion to beat North Carolina this past Saturday, Clemson (5-0) fell from No. 1 to No. 2 in the rankings. Did this game show that the Tigers aren’t as dominant as many predicted they would be this year?

“I don’t think it’s just that game; I think it’s what we’ve seen this entire season from them,” CBS Sports analyst Aaron Murray said on The DA Show. “They’ve been good, and maybe we just put them on this pedestal because we watched them last year just dominate every single week. They dominated the playoffs, waxed Alabama and put a beating on them like we’ve never seen before.”

Many analysts assumed that domination would continue. Well, it hasn’t.

“It hasn’t been like that,” Murray said. “I’ve been really impressed by the defense. I think they are really, really good on that side of the football. Offensively, it’s been a little underwhelming to me. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a sophomore slump for Trevor Lawrence, but he has not played as well as maybe people are hoping.”

Lawrence has completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 1,131 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s also rushed for four scores.

“I don’t know if it’s him putting too much pressure on himself or what it is,” Murray said, “but he’s been good; he hasn’t been elite. I’m not worried about them losing in the regular season because you look at their schedule and there’s no one left that’s ranked right now. So I think they will continue to skate by in the ACC and go on to win that championship. But looking at the rest of the country and how teams are playing right now, I would not even have them in my top four based on what I’ve seen so far. I think there are teams that have proven that they are better. 

“Obviously they get the benefit of the fact that they won the national championship last year,” Murray continued. “But throw that away and if there wasn’t any preseason rankings and you just had to go up there and put a poll together right now and you watched all the film, you’d be crazy to tell me that they deserve to be in the top four. I think there are teams that are far better and are playing a lot better football at the moment.”

Like, for example, No. 4 Ohio State (5-0), which has won its last four games by a combined 217-22 margin.

“I would put Ohio State as one right now,” Murray said. “I think Ohio State, to me, is the best team in America. The way they’re playing offensively is tremendous. Justin Fields has taken tremendous strides from last year to this year. Seeing him a little bit at the University of Georgia and seeing what he was doing, you could see that he could be special. He has really taken that next step this year as the guy for Ohio State. So I love what they’re doing offensively.”

Then there’s the defense, which has allowed one first-half touchdown all season – and that came on a trick play.

“Defensively, those guys must have been really pissed off about their performance last year, and I would have been, too,” Murray said. “They were not very good on that side of the football for a team that had a bunch of really good players, and this year they have taken a huge stride forward. So to me, the most complete football team playing the best football right now would be Ohio State. I love what they’re doing.”

Murray’s top four, in order, would be Ohio State, Auburn, Alabama and Georgia. He would put LSU fifth, with Clemson following at sixth.

“That's where I have them right now,” Murray said of the Tigers. “But the great thing for Clemson is they’re going to get in because they’re going to win the ACC Championship, they’re going to skate by, they’ll be undefeated and they’ll get in there. And then all these other teams are going to have to play each other.”