It’s a testament to where Clemson is as a program that after beating Florida State and winning their 3rd straight Atlantic division, you still get the feeling the Tigers aren’t quite hitting on cylinders.
Miami blew out Notre Dame Saturday. Oklahoma has beat Oklahoma State and crushed TCU in back to back weeks. Auburn just rolled Georgia. Clemson? The final score said 31-14, but the score was 17-14 against FSU with 7 minutes left in the game.
The Tigers are still making mistakes they shouldn’t be at this point in the season. Today there were red-zone turnovers, and issues at times in the passing game. The Tigers are dealing with some injuries too. Clemson’s star DT Dexter Lawrence missed today’s game, and the secondary was so depleted last week against NC State that WR Ray Ray McCloud was playing DB.
Despite it all, the Tigers are in great position to reach the playoffs again. They are firmly entrenched in the top 4 and if they win out they are in. The Tigers play The Citadel which will give them a chance to get healthy before playing a much improved South Carolina team on the road.
The ceiling on the Tigers is still very high. They possess arguably the best OOC win of any team in the country with their win over Auburn. It is at least as good as Oklahoma’s win at Ohio State. We know Clemson can play with anyone in college football, but for the Tigers to reach their potential they need to have 3 things to happen, and we’ve already mentioned one.
Get healthy – Clemson needs injured players like Dexter Lawrence, Kendall Joseph, Marcus Edmond back.
The passing game must improve – Kelly Bryant is a good QB, but his tendency to overthrow receivers is a year long issues. He looked especially uncomfortable in the passing game. It wasn’t all his fault though. Deon Cain dropped a sure TD. Hunter Renfrow is the only receiver you have total confidence in.
In a year without any great teams, Clemson is one of about six teams capable of winning it all. They need to healthy and that passing game can’t be a liability. We’ve seen glimpses of Clemson’s potential, but we haven’t a true 60 minute game.
Dabo Swinney is a master motivator and he’ll end up getting the best football of Clemson. When that happens, watch out…