As you probably heard by now, Clemson won handily on Thursday night in Wake Forest. It wasn’t much of a contest and not even that much fun to watch. The win, combined with some losses by some teams ahead of Clemson, might propel the team up some spots in the human polls. However it appears the strength of schedule took another hit. As much as Clemson would like to sit around and wish that the rest of the ACC would stop playing like chumps, all they can really focus on is continuing to take care of business on the field.
Let’s look at the opponents Clemson has already faced this season:
Auburn – Those Tigers lost by 42 to A&M and fell to 1-7. Seems like they’ve pretty much given up at this point. It is amazing that their record has gotten so bad after winning the national championship just a couple years ago, but it is just sad to see that they aren’t even competitive in most of these games.
Ball State – The Cardinals improved to 6-3 after beating Army. In all honesty, this MAC team is one of the best teams Clemson has beaten all season.
Furman – The Paladins improved to 3-6 after beating Elon.
FSU – The ‘Noles embarrassed Duke pretty thoroughly. They won 48-7 despite losing four turnovers. FSU — despite the turnovers — looked like the FSU that most people expected to see this season. It’s a shame that they didn’t bother to play that well against NC State.
Boston College – The Eagles won their second game of the season, this time over seemingly hapless Maryland. BC might have a shot against Wake Forest next week, but that might be the last bright spot for that time for the season. Fun stat: BC ranks 121st in rushing yards this season.
GT – The Yellow Jackets fell to 3-5 this week after being eviscerated by BYU. Tech managed just 157 yards of offense and they were 0-10 on 3rd down. A GT victory would have made the ACC look a little bit better in conference-to-conference comparisons. Instead they lost and reduced Clemson’s SOS.
VT – Had the week off.
Wake – They were Clemson’s victim this week. They’re now 4-4, although bowl eligibility isn’t completely out of the question. Fun stat: Wake ranks 112th nationally in rushing yards this season.
So that’s it for the teams Clemson has already played. What about the teams left on the schedule?
Duke – As mentioned they were battered by FSU this week. They’re bowl eligible at 6-3, but they’ve lost 2 of their last 3. With Clemson, GT, and Miami left on the schedule, one imagines that 7-5 is the best they will do, with 6-6 being a real possibility. Fun stat: duke ranks 100th in the nation in rushing yards this season.
Maryland – The Terps fell to 4-4 after the previously mentioned loss to Boston College. The Terps are a tough, but also fragile team. They’re down to their last quarterback, a true freshman. Fun stat: Maryland ranks 119th in rushing yards this season.
NC State – As you’ll recall, the Wolfpack had been living on the edge. They somehow managed to stay close to FSU and win the final seconds. Then, last week, they survived a late push by Maryland when the Maryland placekicker bounced on the wrong way off the upright. This week they were not so lucky. They were playing to take it into overtime. They punted and Giovani Bernard returned the kick for a most impressive and soul-crushing touchdown. Now at 5-3 (2-2), they are pretty much out of the division championship conversation. Fun stat: State ranks 102nd in rush yards this year. As an aside, is Sean Glennon actually that good, or is the rest of the team that bad. In the few times I’ve watched State play this year, they announcers have ceased to gush about the guy talking about how he’s going to be playing on Sundays. Do they mean in Canada or something? Because I just don’t see it. State has a good chance to finish strong. They have very winnable games remaining against Virginia, Wake, and BC. It’s hard to imagine they’ll find magic against Clemson, but it can’t be ruled out.
South Carolina – Carolina won the game but might be losing the war. They managed a 3-point win over Tennessee that was competitive to the end. Unfortunately they’re recent win against Florida was diminished a bit by Florida’s loss to Georgia. Much more unfortunately, Marcus Lattimore looks to have had one of this knees destroyed. I don’t wish that kind of injury on anyone.
Clemson should be expected to win the next three easily, and if they stay focused, that should happen. The USCe game is still a tossup, but at least it should be a competitive game.