1. CLEMSON WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN
It’s way, way, way past the time to question whether or not Clemson can rebuild and reload, but on one side of the ball, the team has to undergo an overhaul.
The offense will pick up the slack, though.
As long as Trevor Lawrence is healthy and rocking, don’t even think about showing up unless you’re prepared to hit Clemson with at least 30 points, and that just starts the discussion.
In terms of skill player talent, only Alabama is there among the nation’s best, and the line will once again quietly be special.
The defense will be more than fine, and the secondary is among the nation’s best, but this time around, all Clemson has to do is replace – arguably – the greatest defensive line of all-time.
The D allowed fewer than 17 points 11 times and just seven points or fewer seven times, and gave up an average of just over 13 points per game over the last two seasons.
The recruiting classes have been special – there’s a whopper coming in next year – and again, the offense will make up for most issues, but after a perfect season …
Set The Regular Season Win Total At … 11
Clemson’s brilliance over the last four years has been in its ability to not lose that second pre-bowl game.
There were dangerous moments against Texas A&M and Syracuse last season, but the Tigers survived and advanced.
There was the strange weeknight blip against Syracuse, and dogfight against Auburn in 2017, but Clemson was still the CFP No. 1 seed. The 2015 and 2016 teams were able to sidestep several landmines, too.
This year’s team has to deal with Texas A&M home, followed up by a date against Syracuse on the road. NC State is a dangerous road game, as is the showdown at South Carolina, but the SEC fans who claim Clemson has it easy in the ACC are sort of right – this is a relatively light and breezy slate.
There will be one loss along the way – watch out for that Texas A&M game – and all bets are off if Lawrence goes down for a long stretch, but the talent is still ridiculous, anything other than another ACC championship would be a disaster, and after all the success of the last few years, there’s no reason to expect anything less than another run to the College Football Playoff.