Although 2017 wasn’t another national championship season for the Clemson Tigers, it was still extremely successful. Clemson finished the regular season with a record of 11-1 with a ticket to the ACC Championship against the #7 Miami Hurricanes, in which they won in dominant fashion 38-3, clinching an opportunity to play in the college football playoff entering as the #1 ranked team in the nation. Unfortunately, their late season dominance was all for not as they suffered a Sugar Bowl ejection by the #4 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
They enter this season refueled and re-energized for another run at not only the ACC Championsip, but another National Championship. I will be previewing their season this year and give a take on how I think they will be preforming in 2018.
This Clemson offense was no joke in 2017. Kelly Bryant has learned a lot, and the rushing game was led by Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster. There is no question has to how this team was able to clinch a playoff spot. Unfortunately, Clemson lost two wide receivers to the draft in Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud. Other than that, the Tigers stayed intact for the most part.
This offense again should be one of the top ranked in the nation and should provide competition for the top defenses in their own conference. Clemson has reasoning to be excited, and look to see further development from QB Kelly Bryant or the start of five-star recruit Trevor Lawrence, who could provide competition at the position.
Although Clemson is usually known for putting up big points consistently, their defense quietly had the #2 ranked defense in the nation behind Alabama in 2017. The losses they suffered due to the draft were very minimal, as Clemson only lost Dorian O’Daniel. This defense should look extremely familiar and produce the same results they were able to put up last season.
They recruited well this offseason by enrolling two five-star defensive ends and five four-star defensive players. Clemson should have nothing to worry about as far as the defense goes heading into this season.
Clemson was able to have an extremely successful year last year and will look to do the same with the following schedule:
- Sept. 1st : VS Furman
- Sept. 8th : @ Texas A&M
- Sept. 15th : VS GA Southern
- Sept. 22nd : @ Georgia Tech
- Sept. 29th : VS Syracuse
- Oct. 6th : @ Wake Forest
- Oct. 20th : VS NC State
- Oct. 27th : @ Florida State
- Nov. 3rd : VS Louisville
- Nov. 10th : @ Boston College
- Nov. 17th : VS Duke
- Nov. 24th : VS South Carolina
Overall, the Tigers have a fairly easy schedule. I consider the premier matchups to be the week two game @ Texas A&M, the rematch game against Syracuse, and the back-to-back matchups of Florida State and Louisville. Other than that, this team should have zero issues competing for a postseason position.
This Clemson Tigers team looks just as good, if not better, than last season. They will have major in-conference competition this year with the Miami Hurricanes on the rise, as well as with the Florida State Seminoles gaining QB Deondre Francois back after an injury that ended his season early in 2017. We shall see where Clemson ends the season, but I have no reason to doubt that they wouldn’t win the ACC.
Prediction : 10-2, NY6 Bowl Game, ACC Championship Contenders
Photo Source : AthlonSports.com