Let’s see what the schedule holds for us…..
Alabama, the game of games, the hype of hype, the ultraverse championship bound Tigers versus the under the radar highest paid coach in history ‘Bama “Saban” Tide!!! There is so much flip flopping on this game, Jib Jab should make a video on it. I don’t know what the spread is but I am sure that on the “neutral” field it is probably 3 points going both ways. Saban and the entire world know Clemson’s weaknesses and will try to beat the Tigers by attacking the LB corps and the O-Line. Fortunately, the O-line, who I believe are slightly underrated this preseason, have had a salty Clemson D-Line and defensive ends Sapp and Bowers thrown at them all summer long. Add in the addition of the Koenning blitz schemes and the O-Line should hold their own enough to let Harper get some quick releases out early and loosen up the defense. The rest of the offense will unleash the arsenal and score early then proceed to pound out the clock on the ground getting JD and CJ well on their way to 1000 yard seasons. This will in no way be a blowout as Spence will do everything to “just win” and keep it as close to the vest as possible this early in the season.
Clemson 31 Alabama 28
Citadel, this is the game that will allow the offensive line to work out any kinks as well as get the 2′s experience. Same thing for the LB group. Willy Korn, Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington take over the second half along with the rest of the 2′s to show the Clemson faithful what is to come once the talent heavy Junior and Senior classes depart. Citadel gets their cash and takes the beating in an offensive showcase. Citadel is in the top 25 of the Championship League (or whatever the AA’s are called now) so they have to get some credit.
Clemson 52 Citadel 21
NC State, O’Brien may have the discipline heading in the right direction now but the talent is still largely Chuck the Chests team. Unlike another gnome, I don’t see this team as a stumbling block (if so, get ready for the rants on the end of the world). It won’t be the Citadel beatdown but the Wolfpack get the brunt of Clemson’s ACC opener and the Tigers lines starting to click.
Clemson 28 NC State 17
SC State, honestly can we stop getting teams that need a paycheck and get some teams that at least strengthen the schedule!! SC State pulls in the most diverse crowd to enter Death Valley in a while (OK Miami was interesting). Clemson pulls out the whooping stick in similar fashion to the Citadel game and look forward to hitting one of their divisional mental blocks in Maryland.
Clemson 43 SC State 17
Maryland, Oh Fridge, how you perplex the Tigers year in and year out. But this year the Fridge may have done something to benefit the Tigers. He gave up his offensive coordination and handed it to an assistant coach so that he could concentrate on head coaching responsibilities (re: walk up and down sideline). Maryland returns one noteworthy name in Darrius Heyward Bey but lose their RB tandem and most of their defensive starters from last year. The Terps always put up a fight and beat Clemson in Death Valley the last time they came to town. This time it gets scary as Clemson is riding high on accolades from around the nation and forget all about the envy that breeds rabid players trying to take down the top dogs. Tommy somehow knocks some sense into the team in the second half and they squeak by with a win.
Clemson 24 Maryland 20
BYE Week and just in time to prepare for two of what will be the wilier offenses in the conference this year.
Wake Forest in the cursed land of Winston-Salem and their piped in music loving high school stadium. I went to this game the last time it was out there and, as with Walker, hated every cold wet minute of it… until Gaines Adams had the miracle botched kick return. Depending on how the team fares against Maryland, Tommy could convince enough of the Tiger nation that they needed to be in Winston-Salem that weekend to motivate the team. Either way the Tigers play the Terps, the Deacs will have Clemson’s full attention as it gets two weeks to prepare for Grobe and Skinner’s wily antics. Unfortunately, the Deacs get two weeks as well to prepare and have one of the greater returning defensive classes in the conference as well as Sam Swank, Riley Skinner and Josh Adams. Sounds like a powerhouse similar to Clemson and the game will reflect it as the winner of this game should be the divisional champ in my mind. This is a game that the Tigers have to come out of the blocks firing, they have no time to get the previous 2 weeks out of their system as Wake Forest will not let up as this would be their second ACC game of the season and they would have a lot left in front of them to determine where they end up. I agree with the entire pundit nation that this is definitely one of the games that Clemson could lose, unbelievably though, I think that they will get out of Wake Forest with a 4th quarter rally similar to 2 years ago (sans Gaines magic).
Clemson 27 Wake Forest 23
Georgia Tech, and the bipolar 3 point or blowout swing that is this rivalry. As Paul Johnson will have half a season to unveil his new offense the Tigers will hopefully have enough tape to get a game plan together. Throw in that the entire GT team has been gutted due to graduation and this should be considered a GT rebuilding year. By this time the mid-season meltdown media will be in full force and maybe, just maybe, that gameday experience from 2 years ago will return to Tiger Town for part deux. Georgia Tech remembers the last time they were in Death Valley and the national beat down that they received from JD and CJ. Tech sports a decent defensive front 7 this year but Cullen has the seasoned offensive arsenal and depth to just wear the Jackets out. Clemson recaptures the magic on the homecoming before the turn and win.
Clemson 28 Georgia Tech 17
BYE Week, this time the Tigers look forward to a team that they have never defeated in conference and a ‘Noles team that may be steamrolling by this point.
Boston College, at Chestnut Hill…..late in the season. Hopefully Mother Nature plays nice and keeps the weather in a northern fall fashion and not hit the winter points yet. That is the only worry of mine: Tigers in some winter weather. BC has finally lost their golden calf, Matt Ryan, and hopefully their winning streak along with it. Anyone remember how NC State did without Rivers? Yeah, I am looking for something like that to happen. Now the Eagles are saying that their Senior QB is a good replacement in the system but the Eagles also lost their top running backs. The offensive and defensive lines should still be the hard nosed fronts that everyone has grown as well as one of the better linebacker corps in the ACC this year but the secondary might be questionable. This late in the season, anything can happen though. Clemson finally takes a W from the Eagles and move on to Bowden Bowl X.
Clemson 30 Boston College 24
Florida State, and I am not sure what the media is seeing. Yes, Drew Weatherford is one year older and wiser but does that mean anything? FSU does return some of the better receivers in the ACC this season (barring Clemson of course) and decent running game. I think the biggest factor in this game is the home field advantage… if there is one. The ‘Noles are having issues selling season tickets right now so who knows how many will be in there. Also, FSU is having some NCAA issues that may or may not come to bite them at some point. I have no idea what this game will bring as it will be so late in the season and after a draining game against BC. Add that it took a trick play to beat the ‘Noles on their home turf, and that they remember it, and Clemson may be in for the L.
Clemson 24 FSU 35
Duke, alas you stepped in the proverbial pile when they lined you up after a return home from BC and FSU away games. Duke may have a new coach and new schemes but that does nothing against the bitter pill that is defeat and desire to win again. I can’t even explain the beating that Duke experiences in their first visit to Death Valley in years. Clemson takes out their aggression on the poor Blue Devils in attempts to get back in the media’s good graces.
Clemson 42 Duke 13
Virginia, the one game that I will definitely make this year! Al Groh will be looking for his resume by this point in the season and his team will be flat out tired. With the dismissal of the one true offensive weapon they had in Jameel Sewell, the defensive threat of Chris Long and a plethora of other players, this team is gutted. Some pundits see this as Clemson’s final hurdle in the hunt but I see it as the warm-up for USC (oops, can’t use that anymore) I mean South Carolina. Clemson plays through the Hoos with ease and get ready for the Carolina Cup showdown.
Clemson 27 Virginia 17
South Carolina, or Spurrier’s Folly. I am tired of typing… just beat the hell out of them. Like 63-17 type of beating for the farewell game in Death Valley for one of the greater classes to graduate (Harper, Davis, Kelly, Hamlin to name a few).
Clemson 1 Bajillion South Carolina F
Yeah, that’s right I said 11-1. Wake Forest does scare the hell out of me but I hope that Tommy gets enough fan support out there as well as has enough seniority on the team to know how to prepare for the environment. That may come down to a kicking game for all I know, which would be scary as well.
Clemson goes on to play Beamer Ball in Tampa and wins that too!
BCS (not national championship) bound and the letdown occurs as the spotlight and big time is new and the seniors drive themselves nuts in preparation. Tommy can’t keep the composure in tact and the wheels fall off the wagon.
In the end, this normally pessimistic gnome says 12-2 and Tommy keeps his job.
Additionally James or Cullen should be in Heisman conversations through most of the season. Other mentions for awards will be Kelly, Sapp, Hamlin and Jamie Harper.