Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/16/14
CBR's "Way Too Early" Top 10 No. 8 Clemson Tigers Clemson couldn’t have finished the 2011 season on much more of a down note than the 70-33 beating the Tigers took from West Virginia in the Orange Bowl. A year later, Dabo Swinney’s squad took a turn for the better, polishing off LSU with a game-winning field goal on New Year’s Eve in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Will 2013 be the year that the Tigers finally ride that wave of momentum – and talent – to a national championship? The Good: The idea of Tajh Boyd declaring for the NFL draft would’ve seemed a little silly at the end of the regular season. Yet, following a virtuoso performance against LSU, few would have blamed him for ditching Howard’s Rock a year ahead of schedule. Boyd decided to come back for another year in the minor leagues, which means one more season to pilot Chad Morris’ no-huddle offense. He’ll be pitching the ball to speedy wideout Sammy Watkins, who’ll be looking to rebound from a sophomore slump. On defense, the Tigers should benefit from having a season under coordinator Brent Venables in the books. The Bad: Early declarations haven’t been all sunshine and rainbows for Swinney. The NFL lured away explosive wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, he of the 18 touchdowns and 17 yards per catch. Productive running back Andre Ellington also used up all of his eligibility, creating a significant void at the skill positions. Swinney needs to come up with some replacements, too, for three departing starters along an offensive line that struggled with protection this season. The Uncertain: How will Clemson Clemson itself? Come on, you know it’s coming. This is a program that has never been able to stay out of its own way. Somewhere out there lies a head-scratching loss or improbable implosion sure to tank a promising season. Don’t fight it. Verdict: The Tigers will likely start the season in the relatively familiar position as the favorites to win the ACC. While the college football world waits for another Clemson to suffer another self-inflicted wound, Swinney and Venables will be working ways to shore up a pass D that finished 9th in the ACC in both passer rating and yards per attempt. Keep the big plays on defense under control. Put the offense on Boyd’s shoulders. Get out of your own way. If Clemson can do all three, the Tigers might find themselves for competing for more than just a conference title. Be sure to check out the rest of CBR’s "Way Too Early" Top 10: 10. Florida Gators 9. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Andre Johnson requests to be traded or released

James Harden suspended for groin kick to LeBron James

Mark Cuban will play the President in 'Sharknado 3'

Five most exciting one-bid conference tournaments

Report: Redskins interested in Ndamukong Suh

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Darrelle Revis likely to hit free agent market

Le'Veon Bell could face up to a four-game suspension

Report: Giants place franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul

Vikings GM: Team has spoken with Adrian Peterson

Yu Darvish on notion he quit on Rangers: ‘That’s BS‘

Tiger Woods' agent refutes drug suspension claim

WATCH: Texas-Baylor fight leads to seven ejections

Nik Stauskas wears Michigan State gear after lost bet

Bret Bielema takes away player's car after DUI

NHL player traded after daughter's heartbreaking letter

Curt Schilling unloads on Twitter trolls again

Pirates Corey Hart cut his foot getting into a whirlpool

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter, jabs Clemson

Michael Jordan makes his first Forbes billionaire list

Nick Young rips ESPN anchor over Iggy Azalea insult

Sad LeBron literally looks in mirror after loss to Rockets

Could Holly Holm be a worthy challenger for Ronda Rousey?

Gronk spikes Lombardi Trophy cake on his bro's head

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Texas-Baylor fight leads to 7 ejections

Mark Cuban will be Prez in 'Sharknado 3'

Report: Redskins interested in Suh

Report: Revis likely to hit free agency

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter

MJ makes Forbes billionaire list

Nick Young fires back at Robert Flores

Sad LeBron literally looks in mirror after loss to Rockets

MLS 2015 season preview

Report: Broncos to franchise Demaryius

James Harden kicks LeBron in groin

Lynch: 'I was expecting the ball'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.