Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers were 10 – 4 last season with losses to Georgia Tech, NC State, and South Carolina during the regular season, but that’s not what anyone remembers, the only thing people seem to be able to remember is how badly Clemson got destroyed in the Orange Bowl. Rightfully so, it was one of the worst performances in BCS bowl history and it made West Virginia look like juggernauts.
The obvious statement here would be to say that Clemson is looking to avoid that same fate this season, of course this season there is another team in the ACC that will challenge them.
With junior quarterback Tajh Boyd and the cast of playmakers he has around him returning this season, Clemson should finish fairly high in the polls. Boyd’s numbers last season were great, he finished the season with 3828 yards and 33 TDs. Boyd isn’t the only offensive threat that Clemson is returning, senior running back Andre Ellington and sophomore wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who is suspended for the first two games, are looking to put up gaudy numbers.
The Clemson defense will have to improve drastically though. Clemson allowed on average 33 points a game last season in a conference that is not good.
Why Clemson should be ranked higher:
With weapons like Tajh Boyd, Andre Ellington, Sammy Watkins, and DeAndre Hopkins all returning, the Tigers are in position to finish the season just like they did last year. Expecting all of these weapons to get worse with another year under their belt would be foolish (CLEMSONING).
Why Clemson shouldn’t be ranked higher:
West Virginia exposed exactly why Dabo Swinney’s team shouldn’t be ranked higher. Clemson faced a few tough teams last year, but when they ran up against West Virginia their defense just disappeared. Well, really it never appeared all season.
Returning Starters:7 Offense / 7 Defense
Best games: Auburn, at Florida State, Virginia Tech
2011 Total Offense: 88th
2011 Total Defense: 19th
2011 Turnover margin: 69th
Championship odds: 60:1
Projected record: 10 – 2
11. Clemson, 12. Michigan, 13. Virginia Tech, 14. TCU, 15. Arkansas, 16. Kansas State, 17. Texas, 18. Nebraska, 19. Ohio State, 20. South Carolina, 21. Stanford, 22. Oklahoma State, 23. Boise State, 24. Cincinnati, 25. Notre Dame