Clemson Ain’t Going Anywhere
by Connor Jasso, guest writer
The Clemson question. Now that the home of the most exciting 25 seconds in all of college football is also home to the defending national champions the question for fans and foes alike is simple, what next? Will the Tigers build a dynasty? Does Dabo have what it takes to make his Clemson team a perennial powerhouse? Or will the Tigers wander through the woods for another 30 years before they find their way back to the top of and the Mountain. With the early, though expected, departure of Deshaun Watson for the NFL, the question is an interesting one. Replacing the best quarterback in school history will be no easy task, but the Tigers are stocked with young talent at QB. While the quarterback competition is developing quietly, demand for answers will almost surely grow as the season nears.
The larger issue for the Tigers will be their youth on offense in general. Not only will they be replacing Deshaun Watson at quarterback, but they will also be looking to fill the collective void left by the departures of Wayne Gallman at running back, Mike Williams at wide receiver, and Jordan Leggett (right) at tight end. The offense will most certainly be a question mark early in the season, and it won’t have long to prepare itself. The Tigers have a week two matchup with the Auburn Tigers, and a week three date with Louisville. With only Kent State as a tune up game, the Tigers’ offense will have little choice but to pull together early. It’s the Tigers defense that will be charged with getting them through the early part of the season. Despite losing a few standouts, the defense is returning most of its starters, including a defensive line that looks to be tops in the country.
I can endlessly speculate about the development of young quarterbacks and five star talent, but at some point it gets old. What is more fun is making bold predictions. (Like the time someone from the SEC Network boldly predicted that Jake Bentley would outperform Deshaun Watson head to head). A strong case can be made the idea that Clemson will go 9-3 this year. Much like the historical Clemson 9-3 with losses to Louisville, Auburn, and FSU would be somewhat standard fare. Not an impressive season, but not wholly disappointing. An equally strong case could be made for the belief that the Tigers will go 10-2. 10-2 with only 1 ACC loss could make things interesting, but if that loss it to FSU it probably would lead to the ACC or another Clemson championship as Dabo likes to say. While these outcomes are both reasonable, I’m calling for an 11-1 season with the possibility of 12-0. I’m not picking the loss either, but the Tigers will be back in the ACC championship this year.
What highly scientific algorithm have I run to come up with this bold prediction? Faith. I’m All In. Dabo is, too. The team sure seems to be, and after 35 or so years in the wilderness the Tigers have finally returned to the promised land. If you think for one second that the man who coined the phrase “the fun is in the winning” could ever let his team drift back into mediocracy you’re wrong, plain and simple. The truth of the matter is Dabo has saved a program and awoken a sleeping giant. I’m looking for an ACC three peat this year, and I’ll be keeping an eye on the College Football Playoff selection committee as well. I’m not calling for repeat National Titles, but the joy of winning has found its way back to Tiger Town and only a fool, or a gamecock (one in the same, in my opinion) would think it will be leaving anytime soon.
Parting shots: South Carolina goes 7-5 this year. I’m not sure how, neither is ole Bill Muschamp, but it happens. Clemson 35 SCar 17. Miami is back. Richt takes the Canes to 9-3/10-2 and an ACC title game appearance. They still don’t beat FSU. FSU is overrated and doesn’t go better than 10-2.
Connor is a Wofford graduate and a native of Summerville, SC. While he is a die-hard Clemson fan, he will be giving tuition dollars to the University of South Carolina next fall as he attends law school in Columbia. He will wear orange everyday.CLe
(Featured image provided by Independent Mail.)