Clemson football echoes New Year’s Eve. Earnest Anticipation. All the raw material for a success that never quite materializes. Analysis only heightens the disappointment.
LSU: The Tigers had a down year. For LSU, that means losing one of their stable of star defenders and having two one-score losses to top five teams keep them out of the SEC title game. They still had Top 10 SRS wins against Texas A&M and South Carolina. The offense was worse than the sum of its parts. The defense ranked 7th in yards allowed per play. One notable absence will be punter Brad Wing who is suspended.
Clemson: The Tigers went 10-2, played two good teams and lost to both of them. Their best win? 47-31 against 6-7 Georgia Tech. The offense was prolific. Tajh Boyd finished fourth nationally in passer rating. DeAndre Hopkins filled the role most thought Sammy Watkins would, with 16 touchdowns and more than 1,200 yards. The defense, 74th in yards allowed per play, was soft.
Dabo Swinney: The notable Clemson coach got into it with the HBC, received a contract extension after getting boat-raced by West Virginia in the Orange Bowl last year and has some stupendous fashion sense.
Recreational Prediction: Clemson winning would be huge for the ACC, cleansing the palate after a bitter 2012. Not this year. We have seen LSU play well against great opponents. We have not seen Clemson play well against a good one. [Pick: LSU -5]