Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Clemson Tigers season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Clemson Tigers
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Clemson Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
These things don’t always work out according to plan.
The 2009 Florida Gators welcomed back Tim Tebow and an all-timer of a loaded team coming off national title season.
Yeah, they went 12-0 before getting dumped by Alabama in the SEC Championship, but it was a seemingly joyless, testy ride. With Tebow crying and Urban Meyer suffering a health scare, that was one fried-looking team that got rolled by the Crimson Tide
In the College Football Playoff era, 2015 Ohio State was even better than the 2014 version that won the first CFP National Championship – at least defensively – but one slip against Michigan State, and it was off to the Fiesta Bowl instead of the playoff.
From 2002 Miami, to 2005 USC, to something Clemson knows a little about, 2016 Alabama, plenty of amazing teams that could’ve and probably should’ve won national championships failed to get the job done.
The 2018 Clemson Tigers could and should win the national championship.
Or, at least get into the College Football Playoff for a fourth straight season while taking another ACC title along the way.
Of course, those other great teams in the BCS/CFP era that came up short were defending national champions, and that might be the difference.
All of them had the weight of the world on their shoulders, and while some of them embraced the expectations, they were the front-runners. They were the ones who had the win-it-all-or-failure expectations to deal with all season long.
Clemson gets to not only come back with one of the most talented and deepest teams in college football, but it gets to have a chip on its shoulder after not even getting to Atlanta last season as the No. 1 seed in the CFP.
Let Alabama deal with the pressure. The Crimson Tide will almost certainly be everyone’s preseason No. 1, and even if Clemson is in the top spot in the various polls, it’s not the defending national champ.
Sort of like the 2016 Tigers were able to do, they can have the unfinished business aspect of all this to put on t-shirts and hashtags.
It’s not just about The Process, or doing their job, it’s about overcoming the embarrassing way last season ended, and maybe, just maybe, that’s the little bit of extra juice needed to finish it all up and make it two national titles in three seasons.
But first, it’s just about getting into the fun. Like any playoff format, once you’re in – especially a tournament of four amazing teams – that turns into a whole different ball game. For this Clemson team, just getting back again would be fantastic no matter what. Do that first, enjoy the ride and then if it’s the right year and the right team, it’ll all go fine.
To think like that, though, you need the guys. And Clemson has them.
From the defensive line that’s all back full after shockingly not losing any of the key parts to the NFL – that’s a pro D line the ACC will have to deal with on a weekly basis – to landing another great recruiting class to keep it all going, there’s a great mix of elite of the elite talents that around 125 other programs can only dream about getting.
Is it going to be possible ACC Player of the Year Kelly Bryant under center, or possible future top draft pick Trevor Lawrence?
How will all the defensive linemen mix in the young stars who need time? How will all the veteran running backs get the ball in the rotation? How will the five-star receivers work into the fold for a passing game that was ultra-efficient, but needs to push the ball down the field more?
They’re the type of “my foie gras is a tad dry and my wife’s beauty is too distracting” issues that everyone wants to have, but still requires the right mix, the right blend, and the right coaching to make it all succeed.
Dabo Swinney has created a machine at Clemson, and this doesn’t appear to be the culmination of anything, even if it finishes with another national title.
And that’s the best part of it all. If this turns into one of those amazing teams that doesn’t quite get it done, go ahead and ramp up the expectations again next year.
No pressure at all, 2018 Clemson.