2013-14 Clemson Tigers Predictions and College Football Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 7/19/2013
Clemson got a huge gift at the end of last season, and it has shifted expectations for this year from moderate to extreme. Tajh Boyd would have been attractive to NFL teams in the draft, but he somewhat unexpectedly chose to forgo that opportunity for now to return for his senior season. Now he’s a year older and more experienced, and he already led a Top-10 offense last year. Add in the return of Sammy Watkins at receiver as the star of a very strong receiving corps, and you have the recipe for an offense that can do some damage. They do need to figure out their running game, though. The excellent Andre Ellington is gone, and senior Roderick McDowell will have to step up, shed his tag as a career backup, and show that he can be the main man. If he does his job, this team will be tough to beat.
The defense was pretty solid for the most part. Their Achilles’ heel, though, was the big play. They were 110th in the country in the number of plays of 30 yards or more given up. That’s just not acceptable for a team with the ambitions that this squad has. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables is entering his second year with the program. He made progress last year for a unit that needed work, and he should be able to make more progress this year. To do that, though, he will need to figure out his cornerback situation. Needless to say, the secondary was not consistently strong last year. There was no further clarity after spring ball, so Venables will have to coax the best he can out of his corners.
The team has had back-to-back 10-win seasons. That’s impressive for any program, but it still isn’t enough to make the program the elite national contender it wants to be. The Tigers sit a step behind the Seminoles in the ACC in the eyes of most everyone. To narrow that gap, or eliminate it entirely, they need to take a big step forward this year with Boyd at his best. That means that head coach Dabo Swinney and his staff will have to be very diligent about keeping this team focused and getting them prepared. If they start to read their own headlines and believe their own hype then they could replicate the disaster of the USC Trojans last year. The risk is great because neither Swinney nor the program has really been through a season with expectations like this before.
Clemson Schedule Analysis
Clemson’s nonconference schedule is a study in contrasts. It would be difficult to find two games any easier than those the Tigers will play against South Carolina State and Citadel. They open the season at home against Georgia in a game that is a massive test for both teams, though. And then they finish off the year with a potentially brutal road trip to visit Jadeveon Clowney and South Carolina.
The conference schedule is much more kind. Road games at N.C. State, Syracuse, Maryland and Virginia are all very manageable if the Tigers are as good as expected. Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Boston College are all teams that Clemson should be able to handle as well. It’s a home game against Florida State on Oct. 19 that shapes up as quite possibly the one that will decide the top dog in the ACC.
2013-14 Clemson Betting Odds and Trends
Clemson sits at +3000 to win the National Championship, which puts them solidly in the second tier of contenders. They are co-favorites with Florida State to win the ACC at +225, and to win the Atlantic Division at +100. QB Tajh Boyd is a solid Heisman contender at +1350. Their opener against Georgia is one of the highlights of the opening weekend. Clemson is favored at home by two points. (All odds are from BetOnline) Clemson was a nicely profitable 8-4 ATS on the season last year, and the Tigers went “over” the total six times in 11 tries.
2013-14 Clemson Tigers Predictions and College Football Picks
The Tigers are going to go undefeated in the ACC. They get Florida State at home, and I think that this team is solidly better than the Seminoles regardless of where they play them. That means that they should be poised to win the ACC Championship because their conference is stronger than the Coastal by far, and then head to the BCS. What will determine how good the game they play in is will be the games against Georgia and South Carolina. I give Clemson a chance to beat both, but I don’t expect two wins. This will be a strong season — a step forward for the program — but this is not a national title contender.
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