College Football Lines 2010
The Clemson Tigers won the Atlantic Division last season with a 9-5 record overall and a 6-2 mark in ACC play. Dabo Swinney has this team headed in the right direction, but it will be tough for him to get the Tigers back to the top of the Atlantic considering many key players are gone, including the electrifying C.J. Spiller at running back. He was the heart and soul of this offense and a huge factor on special teams.
Check out my team preview of the offense and defense Clemson has to offer below, as well as my predictions on the Tigers in terms of the ACC.
QB Kyle Parker has decided to return to the football team this season and put off pursuing his professional baseball career for the time being. He threw 20 touchdown passes last year for Clemson and is a huge part of the offense. He’ll be playing behind an experience offensive line that returns the top six players on the depth chart from last season. This group has combined for 88 starts in their careers.
To take some of the pressure off of Parker, somebody must emerge in the backfield. Clemson put up 170.4 rushing yards per game last year and that will be hard to match with Spiller gone. Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper figure to combine to fill Spiller’s shoes in the backfield. Even more pressing is the lack of experienced playmakers at wide receiver. Clemson’s leading returnee at WR is Xavier Dye, who had just 14 receptions last year. College Football Lines 2010
The defense is the backbone of this team this season. Clemson welcomes back seven starters on this unit, led by defensive tackles Jarvis Jenkins and Brandon Thomas. Each has an NFL future and will wreak havoc in opposing backfields this season. The defensive end positions are in good hands with Da’Quan Bowers leading the way along with Andre Branch, Kortnei Brown and Malliciah Goodman who all got playing time last year.
The secondary will have to replace a combined 84 starts from cornerbacks Chris Chancellor and Crezdon Butler, but seniors Byron Maxwell and Marcus Gilchrist welcome the challenge. The secondary could be a strength considering Rashard Hall and DeAndre McDaniel return at safety. McDaniel is a preseason All-American candidate. Junior Brandon Maye is the only returning starter at linebacker, so this is the biggest area of concern defensively.
ACC Prediction: 2nd Atlantic Division – Considering this side of the ACC is down, the Clemson Tigers have a decent shot to repeat as Atlantic champs. But I think Florida State is the most complete team on this side and will prevail in the end. Still, the Tigers have perhaps the best defense this side of the conference has to offer and it will keep Clemson in games this year. The problem is that the Tigers lack playmakers offensively, with very little experience in the backfield and at wide receiver. So even though Parker is back, he won’t have any proven weapons. A second-place finish in this division is the likely scenario. College Football Lines 2010