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2018

Clemson Tigers

College Football

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Clemson maybe didn't finish where it wanted last year, losing to Alabama in the semifinal, but it was still a successful campaign after losing Deshaun Watson. Dabo Swinney has shown he can annually build his team to elite levels no matter what players are gone from the season before. And that’s the main reason the Tigers have the second-best spring odds at 5Dimes Sportsbook to win the National Championship at +590 (-130 to make playoff) with an over/under at 10.5 wins. Even more, Clemson has four guys listed to win the Heisman with quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence (+2500) and Kelly Bryant (+4000), running back Travis Etienne (+6700) and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (+10000). 

The quarterback battle was the main thing everyone was talking about in the spring because Bryant was outplayed by the freshman Lawrence in the scrimmage. Bryant led Clemson to the CFP last season, but he wasn’t great as a passer with 13 TDs and 6 INTs, while rushing for 3.7 yards per carry and 11 touchdowns. As seen in the odds, Lawrence, a top recruit, is expected to steal the job from Bryant. Either way, this offense has the tools needed to be just as good as a year ago when it scored 35.4 points per game. Two guards are gone, but that shouldn’t make a huge difference for Etienne (744 yards, 13 TDs), Tavien Feaster (659 yards, 7 TDs) and Adam Choice (312 yards, 6 TDs) in the backfield. Those guys should all have huge roles in the offense, while Hunter Renfrow (571 yards), Tee Higgins (345 yards) and Amari Rodgers are expected to be the top wide outs. No matter who the quarterback is this offense will be fine.

The same goes for a dominant defense that was one of the best last season allowing only 12.8 points per game. Opposing offenses will have a major problem against what should be the best defensive line in the country with all starters returning. Lawrence and Christian Wilkins are beasts in the middle, while Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant are elite on the ends. Clemson lost a couple playmakers at linebacker and corner, but replacing them won’t be an issue. The secondary has the most improving to do and that could easily happen with Trayvon Mullen, K’Von Wallace and AJ Terrell all set for better seasons. There’s a good chance this defense blows everyone off the field yet again under Brent Venables.

There are no major threats in Clemson’s schedule even with road trips to Texas A&M and Florida State. Both of those teams are in somewhat rebuild mode with new coaches and it’s hard to see the Tigers losing either of those games. Other than that, it’s a straightforward schedule with an undefeated regular season more than possible. It's the same case in the ACC title game, whether Clemson faces Miami or Virginia Tech. With a possibly more consistent offense with better quarterback play along with a defense that’s just as good, Clemson is set to reach another College Football Playoff. The question all season may be Alabama or Clemson, which has become the norm in college football.

 

2018 Clemson Tigers Football Schedule

Sept. 1 vs. Furman

Sept. 8 at Texas A&M

Sept. 15 vs. Georgia Southern

Sept. 22 at Georgia Tech

Sept. 29 vs. Syracuse

Oct. 6 at Wake Forest

Oct. 20 vs. NC State

Oct. 27 at Florida State

Nov. 3 vs. Louisville

Nov. 10 at Boston College

Nov. 17 vs. Duke

Nov. 24 vs. South Carolina

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