On the national stage, confidence in Clemson winning a seventh consecutive ACC championship is diminishing. Following the Tigers’ 17-14 win over Syracuse on Friday night, the “ESPN College GameDay” crew evaluated the team on Saturday, with analyst David Pollack saying the club had little chance of winning the league title. “They’re not going to win the ACC,” he remarked. “I’ve seen enough….” I told myself that they’d be irritated by the end of the week. They’re going to show up. They’re going to have fun. They’re simply not very good. They’re not going to scare someone in an offensive way.”
Clemson is still searching for its offensive identity, averaging 20.5 points per game, down 23 points from a year ago. This year, they’ve only had one FBS game with 400 yards or more of total offense. They’ve lost three offensive lineman this season, with others out due to injuries or other reasons. Will Putnam missed the game against Boston College due to a toe injury, and Hunter Rayburn did not play against Syracuse due to being in COVID-19 procedure. While Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney stated that quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei had his best game against the Orange, receivers had costly drops, and the team as a whole incurred penalties at inopportune periods, squelching built-up momentum.
“We saw in Week 1 versus Georgia.” “We assumed that was simply Georgia’s defense,” Kirk Herbstreit explained. “They’ll be better, and as David mentioned, this was a concern last year, but you had (Travis) Etienne.” “You had Trevor Lawrence, and you were able to move the ball because you had two terrific players.” “Now, I think, with the offensive line troubles, you don’t have an elite back.” You have competent backs, but no difference-maker in the backfield, and with quarterback inconsistency, you have to question where they go from here.”
Clemson Football Today
Simultaneously, Herbstreit and Desmond Howard praised Clemson’s defense, which ranks in the top 20 in the country in terms of points allowed. With three defensive starters out on Friday night (Bryan Bresee (ACL), Tyler Davis (bicep), and Andrew Booth), the group’s depth has proven critical (hamstring). “The defense is playing championship caliber, which is incredible because they’re without two of their greatest inside players for the year, but they’re still playing tremendous defense,” Herbstreit continued. “However, the offensive is still in the works.”
Whereas Clemson was fortunate to escape Syracuse on the road, the Tigers will face offensive powerhouse Pitt for the second time this season. The Panthers are averaging 52.4 points per game, with their only loss coming against Western Michigan in Week 3 by a score of 44-41.
Even though the “GameDay” team does not believe Clemson has a shot to win the ACC, the Tigers are still in the hunt, having improved to 3-1 in conference play — but they must win out to remain in contention for a spot in the ACC title game on Dec. 4 in Charlotte. A 27-21 road loss to North Carolina State put the Tigers in a must-win situation for the rest of the season, though it did end their chances of making another College Football Playoff. In the ACC Atlantic Division, both Clemson and N.C. State are staring up at undefeated Wake Forest (6-0, 4-0 ACC).
Clemson Football Schedule
According to the most recent ESPN Football Power Index, Clemson has a 20% probability of winning the ACC and a 34.8 percent chance of winning the Atlantic Division. Pitt has emerged as the ACC favorite, with a 48.1 percent chance of winning the conference and a 76.9 percent chance of winning the Coastal Division. The Panthers last won the division title in 2018. The Tigers won the ACC championship game 42-10 that year, en way to a national championship with a 15-0 record. Three years later, the Tigers’ route hasn’t been as easy, and they’re still fighting to get their offense going.
“Your team is who you see, Clemson Tigers fans,” Howard remarked. “They’re not going to improve….” This year, no.”
CLEMSON’S NEXT FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
23rd of October: Pittsburgh Oct. 30 against. Florida State; Nov. 6 vs. Louisville November 13 vs. Connecticut; November 20 vs. Wake Forest The 27th of November will be spent in South Carolina.