No. 7 Clemson cling to national title hopes

The good news: The ACC has a team who's name can be mentioned in the same sentence as national title.

The bad news: Clemson is going to need a lot of help for that dream to become a reality.

At No. 7, Clemson is the ACC’s highest-ranked team in the initial BCS standings released Sunday night, but as far as the Tigers’ actual chances of playing for the national title go, it feels more like No. 17. LSU and Alabama have established themselves as the premier teams in the country this year, and it seems as if the voters have already drawn a dividing line between the winner of the LSU-Alabama game and Oklahoma.

Clemson not only has to remain undefeated, but also hope that Wisconsin and Boise State trip up somewhere along the way. Clemson will definitely get some help -- the regular-season matchups between LSU-Alabama and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State will guarantee two of those four teams a loss -- but they will also help Boise State and Wisconsin, too.

The bottom line: Win, win, win. At No. 7 and undefeated, Clemson has an outside chance of playing for it all. Clemson is one of only 10 undefeated teams remaining, and this is outstanding representation for the conference. In order to maintain that position and possibly improve upon it, though, the Tigers have no margin for error.

No. 12 Virginia Tech and No. 22 Georgia Tech have already found that out.