More early '13 outlooks have Tigers, Seminoles neck-and-neck

The Clemson Sports Blog

Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins stiff arms Florida State defensive back Ronald Darby in the second quarter.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins stiff arms Florida State defensive back Ronald Darby in the second quarter.

Signing Day down, the release of the ACC football schedule and spring practice are next on the docket for the 2013 season.

But the way-too-early projections are still rolling in – this time from the stat-centric Football Outsiders’ crew.

They combined the five-year average of their F/+ formula, which ranked the Tigers’ No. 22 in last year's final tally, with returning starters and 2013 recruiting rankings to project next season.

Alabama is the overwhelming favorite (+46.2) and Oregon No. 2 (+34.8), with Florida State the top-ranked in the ACC (12th/+23.1) and Clemson next (21st/+17.7).

Among out-of-conference ’13 opponents, Georgia (+24.1), with 13 returning starters, is 11th, and South Carolina (+21.3), with 12 returning starters, is 16th.

Virginia Tech (+14.2) and Pittsburgh (+11.4) are the only other ACC teams in the top-30, but the conference is the only one with every team in the top-80 and is tied with the PAC-12 and Big Ten for the second-most top-50 teams (8 – UNC, Miami, Georgia Tech and Syracuse the others).

Of note, the same measure correctly projected Alabama as 2012’s best team, FSU as the ACC champ and success for Notre Dame and Texas A&M, who lost five and six games respectively the year before. It also had Clemson as the second-best team in the conference, at 26th.

Steele projects Tigers as top-ranked ACC team preseason

Phil Steele, of over-the-top (but awesome) college football preview magazine fame, projects the Tigers as No. 11 in August’s preseason AP poll.

Last year, he hit all of the top-10, which this year’s version includes No. 6 Georgia and No. 9 South Carolina. Florida State is No. 13.

In Steele’s recruiting rankings, the Seminoles just crack the top-10 in 10th, with Alabama atop the crowd followed by Ohio State, Notre Dame, Florida and Michigan. Clemson checks in at 13th.

FSU and Miami signed the most top-20 players by position in his rankings (4), with Virginia Tech next (3) and Clemson and Pittsburgh after that (2).

ACC teams signed five of the nation’s top-20 defensive backs (VT’s Kendall Fuller and Holland Fisher; Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander; Miami’s Artie Burns; FSU’s Jalen Ramsey).

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