Clemson Tigers 2021 College Football Preview
Created August 2, 2021
Record – 10-2
ATS – 6-6
The Tigers busted sharply out of the gate as expected and rolled up their first six opponents. Trevor Lawrence missed two games and Clemson squeaked by BC (W 34-28) and lost a CLASSIC at Notre Dame (L 47-40 2 OT). They won their next three games by a combined score of 131-37, and that included a SPANKING of Notre Dame in the ACC Championship Game. The season ended on a sour note when Ohio St drilled them in the Sugar Bowl (L 49-28), and that was the end of the Trevor Lawrence era. On to 2021!
Clemson Tigers 2021 Outlook
There certainly wasn’t much wrong with the passing attack LY as both Trevor Lawrence and DJ Uiagalelei combined for a tasty 29-5 TD to INT ratio (#6 FBS passing offense, #15 passing efficiency). DJ takes over this year and looks like a superstar in the making. The bad news? He loses the top-two WRs (Amari Rodgers, Cornell Powell) who combined for over 1,900Y and 14 TDs in 2020. Thankfully, WR Justyn Ross returns and recall that he was pretty good in 2019 (66-865, 8 TD), and they have OODLES of raw talent in the unit as per usual. TE Braden Galloway makes defending the THROW GAME even more difficult (27-369, 2 TD LY). Star RB Travis Etienne will be greatly missed and he leaves as the Tigers’ all-time leading rusher. Also note that he had 48 (!) receptions out of the backfield in 2020. Our best guess is a committee approach using doods like Lyn-J Dixon and freshman Will Shipley. The run game was disappointing LY so it’ll be interesting to see how things work out. The OL is CHOCK-FULL of raw talent but will feature new starters at C and LT. Clemson has averaged 43.5, 43.9, 44.3 PPG L3Y and we think they’ll be down a notch in 2021.
The Tigers allowed 20 PPG LY for the first time since 2015 but were still pretty solid vs the run (#15 FBS) and in terms of pass efficiency D (#35). They also continued to achieve impressive PENETRATION by booking 46 sacks (T1 FBS, Pitt). Things look really good on this side of the ball as 9 starters return as well as their top-10 tacklers. They should be elite up front with the return of four starters including DT Bryan Bresee who is one of the best in the country at his position (6.5 TFL, 11 QBH LY). The LB corps is loaded with the return of James Skalski and #1 tackler Baylon Spector (10.5 TFL). The back end features some talented CBs and an excellent FS in Nolan Turner (1st Team ACC). This is easily one of the best defenses in college football. Let the fun begin!
The kicking game is decent with the return of PK B.T. Potter (18/23 FG LY, 8-10 40+) and P Will Spiers. They need to find a new primary PR given the loss of Amari Rodgers.
Overall – WHOA NELLIE. What an epic opener. Georgia on a neutral site. Giddyup. They get a decent draw out of the Coastal (Pitt, GT) and the November schedule should be a cakewalk.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Pittsburgh (October 23rd)
This will be their 3rd road game in four contests (bye week stuck in there) and Pitt has given them problems in the recent past.
Season Win Total
Per 5Dimes August 2
Over 11.5 +120
Under 11.5 -140
Yup. We think they’ll lose a game.
Clemson has an impossibly-good home record of 66-3 over the last 10Y. The losses? Pitt, South Cackalacky, Florida St.
It’s gonna be strange watching these guys without the star combo of Lawrence and Etienne. The reinforcements have all the potential in the world but how long will it take to mold into an elite offense? The good news is that the defense looks RIDICULOUS and will be the best unit on the team. Add in good coaching and a soft schedule (after Georgia) and we foresee another playoff berth.
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