Let’s just get right to the point here folks.
The ACC Title is not a stretch at all. In fact, Clemson better win the ACC going away. There are only a few teams that can match them offensively and one would have to think that the defense will be better.
But the BCS … now that’s the question for the ages.
To win a national title you have to have three things. One, you have to have talent. Two, you have to have superior coaching. And three, you have to be incredibly lucky.
So how do the Tigers stand up when you look at these three areas? Let’s take a look and see.
From a talent standpoint, there are going to be very few teams with the elite athletes Clemson will be able to boast this upcoming season. Barring injury or a group of kids that want to win the Honey Badger Award, this is an experienced team that has years of proven battle scars against the conference and the SEC. In fact, if things go well Tajh Boyd could easily be the Heisman Trophy winner.
There is no doubt the coaching will be better in 2013 as Dabo Swinney and his staff seemed to get over that youthful hurdle in the Chick-fil-A Bowl win against the LSU Tigers. Things just seemed different and there has been a completely new level of confidence stirring in the wind around Death Valley. Now this is still a young group of coaches, but it seems Swinney is putting more and more trust in his staff every day.
Time will only tell, though. But you have to believe it is the time for these coaches to make a national name for themselves in 2013.
And the X-Factor every College Football season has a lot to do with the things a player, coach or team usually cannot control. It’s the game within the game that the Football Gods control. Every season, there is a defining moment when fans know the ball is going to bounce the right way or if its just another heartbreaking “we got close” kind of season.
Clemson is going to have to run the gauntlet in 2013, as it opens up with the Georgia Bulldogs at home and ends with their rival in the South Carolina Gamecocks on the road. In between is a mix of road games at the North Carolina State Wolfpack, Syracuse Orange, Maryland Terrapins and Virginia Cavaliers. Add home games with the Florida State Seminoles, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Boston College Eagles and Wake Forest Demon Deacons and it’s not the easiest of paths to the ACC or BCS Title.
But a win over Georgia and getting the Football Gods to give them three or four breaks in the season, and there is no doubt Clemson could be battling an SEC foe for the National Title.
After all, crazier things have happened in the run to a championship in college football.
And 2013 is shaping up to be the year of the Tiger.
M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.
Follow him @woodysmalls.