The Clemson Tigers are no longer the second choice or the cousin related to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Clemson isn’t the one team which has a chance to beat Alabama. Clemson is the team Alabama must now try to beat. There is a difference. It’s not Alabama ruling everyone in college football with Clemson having an outside shot at the Tide. Alabama and Clemson exist on the same level. The Tigers are not second to Alabama in any meaningful sense. This is the result of Clemson hammering Alabama in the most recent national championship game. The Tigers and Tide have split their four meetings in the College Football Playoff. They have split the last four national championships. They are both superpowers who exist on the same footing. There is no 1-A and 1-B. They are equals. That is how far Clemson has come.
Regular Season Win Total: 11 Wins
Changes From Last Season
The Tigers lose much of their front seven, especially Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, and Clelin Ferrell, who all went in the top 20 picks of the NFL Draft. Clemson’s defensive line was simply monstrous last season and virtually impossible for opposing teams to play against. That defensive line won’t be nearly as good this season. That will be the foremost concern for the Tigers, who might get involved in shootouts which could get tricky if their offense has a bad game. The defense also lost a few notable players in the secondary, so if you’re searching for weaknesses on this 2019 roster, they almost all come from the defensive side of the ball.
2019 X-Factor: The Wide Receivers
Trevor Lawrence will almost certainly be the No. 1 pick in a future NFL Draft, whenever he does in fact come out of college and move to the NFL. Travis Etienne is a veteran running back and an established presence whom just about everyone knows. The players on the Tigers who might not get as much national attention are receivers Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins. They were both excellent in the College Football Playoff this past season and have all the tools a team could want in its receivers. Ross and Higgins are strong. They win balls in the air. They have great footwork, enabling them to make catches near the sidelines and in other tight areas. They do so much for Clemson’s offense, and when Lawrence doesn’t throw a perfect pass, they are able to bail him out. The receivers, not just Lawrence and Etienne, will make this offense virtually unstoppable in 2019.
The Tigers host Texas A&M, their one truly tough non-conference game this season. Texas A&M came within two points of tying Clemson and sending their 2018 game to overtime. The other non-conference games are very easy, and in the ACC, Clemson really doesn’t have much competition. The one truly challenging conference game for this team figures to be a road trip to Syracuse, which defeated the Tigers two years ago and almost beat Clemson last year. If Clemson gets past Syracuse, it will easily win more than 11 games.
Prediction: Over 11 wins
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