Tigers' ACC, national title hopes come against all odds

Head coaches Mark Richt and Dabo Swinney chat before the Georgia game

Photo by Mark Crammer

Head coaches Mark Richt and Dabo Swinney chat before the Georgia game

Unlike last season with stars like Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins headlining the show, Clemson will be an unquestioned underdog not just nationally, not just in the ACC – but the division also this season playing alongside the reigning national champs, Florida State.

It doesn’t help a trip into the lion’s den of Doak Campbell awaits, where Clemson has won once in 11 tries since the ‘Noles joined the conference.

On the heels of a 37-point home defeat last season, the projected road spread for the Tigers’ trip to FSU (+24) is the highest by far in any of their away contests.

CFBMatrix’s Clemson projected Vegas lines

@ Georgia (+8)

v. S.C. State (-40)

@ Florida State (+24)

v. UNC (-10)

v. N.C. State (-19)

v. Louisville (-9)

@ Boston College (-14.5)

v. Syracuse (-17)

@ Wake Forest (-16)

@ Georgia Tech (+1)

v. Georgia State (-45)

v. South Carolina (pick’em)

Projected wins: 9.5

Relevant to two of Clemson’s biggest games – at Georgia and at FSU – Dabo Swinney’s Tigers are 11-20 as an underdog, splitting their four games as a dog last season (wins over UGa, Ohio State; Losses to FSU, South Carolina). Against the spread, Clemson is 16-11 on the road under Swinney – third-best among ACC peers.

CFBMatrix projects 11 wins for Georgia behind one of the more talented rosters in the SEC. For Clemson’s other regional rival, they have the season-ending contest as the basically the swing game among the Tigers, Gamecocks and another double-digit win regular season (and CFBMatrix has it swinging Clemson's way).

The Tigers are slated to play a No. 52 strength of schedule, which includes two of projected top-four, three of the top-11 and six of the top-50.

After eight double-digit wins in 2013, the Tigers are projected right around seven of those in 2014. The expected line at Georgia Tech is interesting (+1), obviously taking into account Clemson has lost four in a row at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

CFBMatrix projected top-50 notable (record)

1. Ohio State (12-0, 8-0)

2. Alabama (11-1, 7-1)

3. Georgia (11-1, 7-1)

4. Florida State (11-1, 8-0)

9. Clemson (10-2, 7-1)

11. South Carolina (9-3, 6-2)

16. Virginia Tech (9-3, 6-2)

25. Miami (8-4, 5-3)

36. Virginia (7-5, 4-4)

37. UNC (7-5, 4-4)

38. Pittsburgh (7-5, 4-4)

39. Duke (7-5, 3-5)

40. Louisville (7-5, 4-4)

41. Syracuse (7-5, 3-5)

47. Georgia Tech (6-6, 3-5)

© 2014 OrangeAndWhite.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 22

seldomusedreserve#284867 writes:

Georgia Tech is going to go 6-6 and 3-5 in the ACC but beat Clemson?

BrandonRink writes:

in response to seldomusedreserve#284867:

Georgia Tech is going to go 6-6 and 3-5 in the ACC but beat Clemson?

It's weird, the Vegas line and the predictions are slightly different. Dave Bartoo does the projections and has the losses as only Georgia and FSU for Clemson. The lines were set by a couple Vegas guys he works with.

seldomusedreserve#284867 writes:

Obviously, it could happen and depending on how the season plays it out it may come to pass, but looking at it in the offseason it's hard to see. Perhaps I am biased, but just purely statistically my numbers give Clemson a 55.8% chance of winning. http://www.seldomusedreserve.com/?p=6896

TigerNE writes:

I'm pretty sure Vegas lines have much less to do with the emotional parts and a lot more to do with records and history. I don't have the hard data, but I wouldn't be surprised if games against GT produce our worst statistics in terms of outcome versus game day rankings and even end of season rankings. That's probably a big reason why the line seems so odd.

Also, anyone who says an 11 win UGA prediction is based on "one of the more talented rosters..." is either stuck in time some months back or is just looking only at a few key offensive positions. And I can't buy Mason is much beyond the middle of the field for SEC QBs. Not yet, anyway. Plus, they have a mess on their hands defensively at the moment. The saving grace is having Pruitt on board, obviously.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to TigerNE:

I'm pretty sure Vegas lines have much less to do with the emotional parts and a lot more to do with records and history. I don't have the hard data, but I wouldn't be surprised if games against GT produce our worst statistics in terms of outcome versus game day rankings and even end of season rankings. That's probably a big reason why the line seems so odd.

Also, anyone who says an 11 win UGA prediction is based on "one of the more talented rosters..." is either stuck in time some months back or is just looking only at a few key offensive positions. And I can't buy Mason is much beyond the middle of the field for SEC QBs. Not yet, anyway. Plus, they have a mess on their hands defensively at the moment. The saving grace is having Pruitt on board, obviously.

Take away their usual laundry list of suspended players - and they're still really talented. Richt hasn't had a 247 composite ranking outside of the top-12 and a good amount have been in the top-10 comfortably.

Experience is another thing, but versus Clemson anyway, they've got the home crowd behind them and some pieces on offense. Their SEC schedule is pretty manageable outside of going to USC three weeks into the season for the opener. What's funny is even at 11-1 after the regular season they might get knocked out of the playoff in Atlanta.

clemvol writes:

The "pick 'em" game has my most interest. Win this game and I would say Vegas odds of leadership for the team gets to stay for a while. Lose this game and I would say Vegas odds of leadership getting to stay will be.......?????? ( You "pick 'em" ).

kellytown writes:

Its way to early for predictions. Who knows what will happen once the season starts with injuries fall camp etc. The only prediction that I can tell you that came to be is when God told Noah to build a Ark it going to rain for 40 days and nights.

TigerNE writes:

in response to BrandonRink:

Take away their usual laundry list of suspended players - and they're still really talented. Richt hasn't had a 247 composite ranking outside of the top-12 and a good amount have been in the top-10 comfortably.

Experience is another thing, but versus Clemson anyway, they've got the home crowd behind them and some pieces on offense. Their SEC schedule is pretty manageable outside of going to USC three weeks into the season for the opener. What's funny is even at 11-1 after the regular season they might get knocked out of the playoff in Atlanta.

I still haven't seen any version of their defensive roster after all of the attrition (not suspensions) that suggests it fits the definition of "one of the more talented rosters..." On offense, with Gurshall and Conley/Bennett returning (I think) they look strong even within the SEC. Mason still has a lot of "developing" to do, though.

But who can say yet on defense. Pruitt is not done pruning and reshaping. That's my main point.

fasttiger44#293363 writes:

These early lines don't mean a thing. Wait and see how well Georgia runs the ball against out front 7 and you all will then know how good we are really gonna be. They and FSU will have trouble with our defense because it is full of great players that will show out on these 2 big games. I honestly think we will handle Georgia with ease but FSU will be a much harder game down there. We will need the ball to bounce our way on fumbles and maybe!

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to fasttiger44#293363:

These early lines don't mean a thing. Wait and see how well Georgia runs the ball against out front 7 and you all will then know how good we are really gonna be. They and FSU will have trouble with our defense because it is full of great players that will show out on these 2 big games. I honestly think we will handle Georgia with ease but FSU will be a much harder game down there. We will need the ball to bounce our way on fumbles and maybe!

I could say the same about Clemson's offense against Georgia's defense. How is a Clemson offense with a new QB and basically all new skills position players going to do against a Georgia defense that only lost 1 full-time starter? At least Mason has all of Murray's weapons back from last year... and healthy too. Georgia has to find 2-3 replacements on their o-line from last year and their secondary needs to play better than last year. But they have more than enough to beat this Clemson team at home.

8-point spread sounds about right. If you want to give the 8-points away and take Clemson straight-up then you'll have plenty of takers. This "handle them with ease" stuff is all homer-talk.

TigerFan95 writes:

Being a 1 point underdog to GT and a 10 point favorite against UNC are head scratchers to me. Sure, we never seem to play well at Bobby Dodd, but the only way we lose to the jackets is if we have a plague of injuries. BC will likely be a tougher game than GT and we're 14.5 favorites against the Eagles. As for UNC, if we’re 1-2 and coming off a big loss to FSU that game will be huge..That’s a toss-up game at this point and one that I have circled as a season changer. At max we should be a 3 point favorite just because of the home field advantage.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

The most interesting thing about the CFBMatrix people is that they have FSU going undefeated in conference and losing at home to Notre Dame.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to TigerFan95:

Being a 1 point underdog to GT and a 10 point favorite against UNC are head scratchers to me. Sure, we never seem to play well at Bobby Dodd, but the only way we lose to the jackets is if we have a plague of injuries. BC will likely be a tougher game than GT and we're 14.5 favorites against the Eagles. As for UNC, if we’re 1-2 and coming off a big loss to FSU that game will be huge..That’s a toss-up game at this point and one that I have circled as a season changer. At max we should be a 3 point favorite just because of the home field advantage.

Clemson hasn't done well in recent history in ATL so I get where they're coming from but I'm still with you. I could understand Clemson as a 3-point favorite. UNC is a different matter. They've given up more than 50 points the last 2 times they've been to Death Valley. And they're defense was not good last year.

I wouldn't be surprised if Clemson beats UNC bad and still ends up the coastal champ. That's how bad the coastal is going to be.

I don't get everyone's obsession with BC though. They're just not good. Andre Williams carried them last year and he's gone. This should be an easy win.

brookesdad729 writes:

I definitely understand the GT predictions...We were off to one of the best starts ever when we went down there and it was like we hit a buzz saw a few years back. Nothing went right! For some reason Bobby Dodd has not been good for us! That being said, I like the fact that we're starting out new and with a new offense. I believe there a lot of streaks (bad ones) that can be broken this year because this crap isn't in the head of these new guys! We can ride the back of our defense while we get the kinks worked out but that doesn't mean we can lay down. UGA is going to be ready! I believe this is the year we break the SC and the GT streaks. SC got into our heads for some reason and even though we were good enough to beat them, I truly believe it was a mental thing.One thing we have got to learn how to do is adjust better. SC has in previous years (especially on defense)gotten that down to a science. They have a new offense also so it should be interesting! As far as pre-season predictions, those and a $1 will buy you a cup of coffee that's about it. I did notice that Richt won't suspend his players but are giving them "internal" punishment for trying to cash checks they had already deposited. A real nice & clean program you're running there buddy! We'll see how long that lasts for ya! One thing is for sure, you can never say Dabo is light with punishment when it's due. We have a standard and he expects it on and off the field! Way to go Daboooo! Go Tigers!

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to brookesdad729:

I definitely understand the GT predictions...We were off to one of the best starts ever when we went down there and it was like we hit a buzz saw a few years back. Nothing went right! For some reason Bobby Dodd has not been good for us! That being said, I like the fact that we're starting out new and with a new offense. I believe there a lot of streaks (bad ones) that can be broken this year because this crap isn't in the head of these new guys! We can ride the back of our defense while we get the kinks worked out but that doesn't mean we can lay down. UGA is going to be ready! I believe this is the year we break the SC and the GT streaks. SC got into our heads for some reason and even though we were good enough to beat them, I truly believe it was a mental thing.One thing we have got to learn how to do is adjust better. SC has in previous years (especially on defense)gotten that down to a science. They have a new offense also so it should be interesting! As far as pre-season predictions, those and a $1 will buy you a cup of coffee that's about it. I did notice that Richt won't suspend his players but are giving them "internal" punishment for trying to cash checks they had already deposited. A real nice & clean program you're running there buddy! We'll see how long that lasts for ya! One thing is for sure, you can never say Dabo is light with punishment when it's due. We have a standard and he expects it on and off the field! Way to go Daboooo! Go Tigers!

Where can you get a 1$ cup of coffee and is it any good?

kellytown writes:

I am not sure dosen't Clemson have some players suspended for the Ga game. Like I said not sure?

fasttiger44#293363 writes:

Our defense, provided the secondary pans out to be good, will be better than Georgia's offense. There is no question about that. Playing in Athens will play a part in the out come but the field is 100 yards long there the same as it is in Death Valley. Turnovers and critical penalties will decide this one as usual in a big game when the teams are closely matched. I just think this is our year and by far our toughest game is at FSU and Georgia the second toughest. Let's get by the "bull doggies" and then talk about the rest of the season.

brookesdad729 writes:

in response to fasttiger44#293363:

Our defense, provided the secondary pans out to be good, will be better than Georgia's offense. There is no question about that. Playing in Athens will play a part in the out come but the field is 100 yards long there the same as it is in Death Valley. Turnovers and critical penalties will decide this one as usual in a big game when the teams are closely matched. I just think this is our year and by far our toughest game is at FSU and Georgia the second toughest. Let's get by the "bull doggies" and then talk about the rest of the season.

I agree! Again everyone's focus is on the offense but our defense, barring injuries should be better this year. If our secondary shows up, it could be a long day for some of these offenses. UGA is starting a new QB just like us and I believe this game is going to come down to defense and creating turnovers. We should be okay I believe!

fasttiger44#293363 writes:

The football lines use to be made at the Stardust on Saturday night. On Sunday they would invite several high roller football betters to look at all the lines and allow them to make small plays on the games. I think maybe $500. After all of this, they would discuss all the games with the gamblers and they would iron the lines out. This was all done on Sunday and it was called an "outlaw" line. The lines would go to the public on Monday and the Vegas books would post the on Monday at some time during the day. The number out by a team is not meant to mean team A should beat team B by this many points. The line is set to try and make half the people bet one side and the other half bet the other side. If anybody thinks Georgia will beat Clemson by 8 points they need their brain operated on just to see if there is one in their head. Make UGA a 3 point favorite and things would change dramatically. I like Clemson plus 8 and Clemson plus the 24 against FSU. That's way too many points to give Clemson and it doesn't matter if they play the game in a cow pasture somewhere in Pickens County or whatever county Tallahassee is in. And any person that strictly bets favorites will go busted. I seldom if ever would bet a favorite but sometime it's just not nearly enough points to get me off that particular side of the game. In other words, favorite betters will lose more often than the guy that bets the dog. A short dog at home (3) or something close to that is a good, solid bet.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to kellytown:

I am not sure dosen't Clemson have some players suspended for the Ga game. Like I said not sure?

Corey Crawford and Garry Peters on defense. David Beasley and Shaq Anthony on offense.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to brookesdad729:

I agree! Again everyone's focus is on the offense but our defense, barring injuries should be better this year. If our secondary shows up, it could be a long day for some of these offenses. UGA is starting a new QB just like us and I believe this game is going to come down to defense and creating turnovers. We should be okay I believe!

UGA is starting a new QB but he's got a center who's started the last 27 games and 2 starting tackles back. He's got all of Aaron Murray's top receivers back. And most important, he's got Gurley and Marshall back healthy. And Mason won't see Corey Crawford across from him either.

Clemson has a new QB but they're breaking in new skills position players. McDowell had all the meaningful carries last season and Watkins and Bryant are gone. Not to mention that Clemson has 2 offensive linemen suspended for the UGA game. Georgia's secondary got thinner over the offseason but they still return 8 or 9 starters overall.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to fasttiger44#293363:

The football lines use to be made at the Stardust on Saturday night. On Sunday they would invite several high roller football betters to look at all the lines and allow them to make small plays on the games. I think maybe $500. After all of this, they would discuss all the games with the gamblers and they would iron the lines out. This was all done on Sunday and it was called an "outlaw" line. The lines would go to the public on Monday and the Vegas books would post the on Monday at some time during the day. The number out by a team is not meant to mean team A should beat team B by this many points. The line is set to try and make half the people bet one side and the other half bet the other side. If anybody thinks Georgia will beat Clemson by 8 points they need their brain operated on just to see if there is one in their head. Make UGA a 3 point favorite and things would change dramatically. I like Clemson plus 8 and Clemson plus the 24 against FSU. That's way too many points to give Clemson and it doesn't matter if they play the game in a cow pasture somewhere in Pickens County or whatever county Tallahassee is in. And any person that strictly bets favorites will go busted. I seldom if ever would bet a favorite but sometime it's just not nearly enough points to get me off that particular side of the game. In other words, favorite betters will lose more often than the guy that bets the dog. A short dog at home (3) or something close to that is a good, solid bet.

So by your logic, half the people who are betting on the game need their head operated on? Clemson might've been a short dog at home... except they're not at home. They're on the road. 8 points sounds about right considering what Georgia has back and healthy and Clemson has tons of newbies on offense starting their first game... on the road.

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features