The Clemson Tigers are currently 8-1 and are cruising right along in the ACC. The Tigers are currently ranked 13th in the BCS standings, but are ranked as high as number eight in the coaches poll. The Tigers have a good chance to return to a BCS Bowl for the second straight year (as outlined here) but are they elite?
The Clemson offense is certainly elite and it is being run by one of the best quarterbacks in the nation with Tajh Boyd. Clemson’s scoring average is 42.7 points per game, which is good enough to be ranked seventh in the nation. It’s not hard to understand why when Boyd is getting the ball to his explosive play makers. Sammy Watkins, Andre Ellington and DeAndre Hopkins are all future NFL talents and all three are running rampant on the ACC.
While the offense is elite, the defense is anything but. Clemson’s defense has improved from last year, but not by much. However, in recent years it has become readily apparent that you don’t need a good defense to be elite; case in point Oregon. If the Tigers defense can simply hold an opponent under 30 points then they will be able to compete with any team in the country. The defensive unit has been able to accomplish just that this year, allowing opponents to score an average of 23.8 points per game.
The highest point total opponents have scored in a Clemson win is 27; in the Tigers lone loss they gave up 49 points to Florida State. So the answer to the question posed about whether or not Clemson is elite, seems fairly easy to answer. The Tigers are an elite team this year, offense is now the name of the game in collegiate football and Clemson is one of the best.