2012-13 Football Previews – (ACC) – Clemson Tigers
Last year, the Clemson Tigers were the Figure 1A example of a “feast or famine” team in college football. The Tigers started out a flawless 8-0 and ranked #6 in the AP poll, only to lose four of their last six.
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ACC 2012-13 Football Previews: Clemson Tigers
Coach: Dabo Swinney
2011 Record: 10-4
Clemson Gambling Odds from Sportsbook.com to win BCS:
Clemson Team Page – Players Stats – Roster – 2012 Schedule –>
The outstanding start still resulted in Clemson grabbing a double-digit win season, its first since 1990 – hard to believe, with all the talent that dons orange and purple, and touches Howard’s Rock.
Make no mistake, either: this year’s Clemson squad is more talented than last season’s 8-0 outfit. Tigers fans hope that a year of experience, especially for starting pivot Tajh Boyd, will translate to Clemson staying more calm and collected in the latter half of the campaign.
The only other ACC team that can match Clemson tit-for-tat in the talent department is Florida State, and FSU could end up being the only hurdle to an undefeated season for the Tigers.
It is safe to say that Clemson has the best offense in the conference, and one of the best in the nation. Boyd had a prolific 2011 campaign, passing for 3,828 yards and 33 TDs.
He has one of the finest WR corps around to distribute the ball to, led by two bona fide playmakers in junior DeAndre Hopkins and sophomore Sammy Watkins. Watkins is a special weapon, finishing last season with 82 receptions for 1,219 yards and 12 majors. The dangerous then-frosh was averaging almost 15 yards per catch.
When Boyd isn’t chucking the ball, he has an elite RB to hand off to; senior Andre Ellington cracked the 1,000-yard and double-digit TD marks last year, bringing speed and power that belies his 190-lb frame.
The offensive line must adapt to three new starters, but the group should be stabilized with the presence of senior C Dalton Freeman and junior LT Brandon Thomas. Another unheralded weapon is veteran TE Brandon Ford.
Defensively, Clemson also has plenty of highly-regarded athletic talent. Defensive end Malliciah Goodman will lead the D-line, though Clemson’s strength is its back seven. Stephone Anthony and Corico Hawkins lead the LB corps, while the secondary is spurred by starting safeties Rashard Hall and Xavier Brewer.
Hall returns as 2011’s leading tackler. The Tigers have speed to burn and also bring in dynamic freshman Travis Blanks, who was playing as the team’s nickel-back in spring drills. The speed also does a world of good on the special teams units.
Kicker Chandler Catanzaro is one of the conference’s best, though the Tigers must break in a new punter in freshman Bradley Pinion.
2012-13 Clemson Football Prediction: 12-2
Clemson has the talent to run the table in the ACC – including an upset of Florida State. I peg the Tigers to finish with two losses only because in the past, it’s seemed like the Tigers are a weird combination of both snake-bitten and ill-equipped to handle the pressure situations. The Tigers’ season-opener against Auburn in Atlanta will be a true test, but the Sept. 22 road game versus FSU in Tallahassee stands out as the pre-eminent challenge in 2012.
Clemson is just one of those programs that pulls in a strong recruiting class year after year, and the proof is in the pudding on the roster now, with athletes at virtually every position on the field. I figure Clemson may pick up another loss either in the conference title game or the bowl game, only due to the team’s track record of coming up short in the clutch.
If the Tigers can shake off the weak finish of last year, they will be very dangerous; the FSU Seminoles better prepare for a tough game in late September.
2012 Clemson Schedule
9/1/12 7:00 PM ET @AUB
9/8/12 12:30 PM ET BALST
9/15/12 3:00 PM ET FUR
9/22/12 TBD @FSU
9/29/12 TBD @BCOLL
10/6/12 TBD GATCH
10/20/12 TBD VATCH
10/25/12 7:30 PM ET @WFRST
11/3/12 TBD @DUKE
11/10/12 TBD MD
11/17/12 TBD NCST
11/24/12 TBD SOCAR