Nobody ever said bouncing back from a 33-70 loss in a prominent bowl game would be easy, but that’s exactly what the Clemson Tigers will have to do if they want to make the most of a promising year in the ACC. Disgraced or not, the Tigers still have the tools to strike it rich on the college football odds in 2012.
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The big thing that will have to go right for head coach Dabo Swinney is the defense. After surrendering a disappointing 29.3 points per game in 2011, there’s simply no way this team can compete on the NCAA futures without some form of improvement.
Fortunately, incoming defensive coordinator Brent Venables appears to be the man for the job. The roster is far from impressive on that side of the ball, but an experienced secondary should help contain passing threats in the ACC. For Clemson to break into the national top ten, however, the Tigers will have to be more than simply good. A young defensive line is one of the major questions this team will have to answer before they can qualify as great.
Provided the defense can hold up, the Tigers boast an impressive trio of offensive threats, from quarterback Tajh Boyd who started as sophomore, to running back Andre Ellington and stud wideout Sammy Watkins.
They’re young and they’re volatile, but the Tigers are both talented enough to be taken seriously and fortunate enough to play in a relatively lousy conference. How they’ll stack up on the college football odds, given all the uncertainty, is up to you.