Clemson's 2012 Season prediction
I will go through games 2-6 today and games 7-12 Thursday. Next week the staff will have our Clemson-Auburn predictions. This season is a tough one to gauge for Clemson. Offensive coordinator Chad Morris has a bevy of offensive weapons but their effectiveness depends on the success of a mostly young and inexperienced offensive line.
For the second year in the row Clemson starts the season with a new coordinator in Brent Venables. While I think Clemson will be much improved on defense particularly tackling and playing more instinctual there's still the learning curve of a new coordinator's system. How will this years Tigers finish? Here's my predictions.
Game 1- Auburn in the Georgia Dome. Prediction next week
Ball State in Death Valley
Clemson will come in to this home opener after a big physical test with Auburn. Clemson will likely start this game slowly as I'm sure there will be some hangover after the Auburn game. One thing to watch for this game is Chad Morris dialing in the line up and rotation of the offensive line. Nonetheless after a slow start Clemson will breeze through this game and the benches cleared. Win
Furman in Death Valley
This 3:00 game will be another warmup for Clemson before heading to Tallahassee the following week. By the third quarter Clemson should have the benches cleared here. Again, watch for Chad Morris to continue to dial in his offensive line and make final corrections before heading in to league play against Florida State. Win
Florida State in Tallahassee
This series has become quite the rivalry of late. FSU once again tabbed the favorite to win the ACC and a national top 10 contender despite no hardware under head coach Jimbo Fisher. This is game the Noles will want revenge after last years close encounter in Death Valley.
In big games and particularly close games I don't trust Jimbo Fisher's game management. He's proven time and again he can't be consistent despite the talent he has. I look for this game to be close. I think Clemson will be in a close game here. In the end the Florida State speed, athleticism and depth of their defensive line will be the difference. Loss
Boston College in Chestnut Hill
This game sends Clemson on the road for a second straight week to Chestnut Hill. It's the dreary environment with less than 15,000 fans that Clemson usually struggles with. This years matchup will pair a Clemson team superior talented from top to bottom. Boston College hasn't faired well recruiting of late and the results show it. 247 has Boston College ranked 10th in the ACC in recruiting.
This game will undoubtably start slow for Clemson. After a slow start this will be a game Clemson will take very serious given past history and by the time Mike Hogewood rolls with the sweet tea, chicken and the Bojangles halftime show this game should be well in hand. Clemson will win this one going away. Win
Georgia Tech in Death Valley
I guarantee you behind closed doors Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has a giant bulls eye on this game. Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has owned Swinney compiling a 4-1 record against Clemson. 3-1 if you want to exclude Swinney's debut as interim.
The gravity of this game will never be in doubt for Clemson, it's staff and players. They will want to exact revenge on Georgia Tech. You can count on new defensive coordinator wanting to make good on his comments about defending the triple option. It's unlikely a defense will completely shut down this type of option game rather only try to minimize it's effectiveness and make it deal with third and long rather than third and 2.
I expect this game to be a dog fight most of the game. Georgia Tech isn't to be dismissed as an easy opponent even in Death Valley. I think in the second half Clemson's speed and athleticism will break through and send the smug Georgia Tech coach back down 85 with a loss. Clemson's offensive coordinator wins this chess match. Win
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