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

MLBPA reacts to Kris Bryant's minor league assignment

Gregg Marshall's show canceled, Bama speculation grows

Report: Shaka Smart in discussions with Texas

Report: Rick Barnes expected to land at Tennessee

Demaryius Thomas planning to skip Broncos' workouts

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rockets GM: We think we can win NBA title despite injuries

Browns GM Ray Farmer suspended over text messages

Aaron Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box after murder

Byron Scott: Opposing players say they want to play for Lakers

Falcons reportedly will lose pick over pumping in crowd noise

Report: Sam Bradford wouldn't sign extension with Browns

WATCH: Stars' Patrik Nemeth catches puck inside visor

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

University of California soccer player found dead

Joe Namath parties with twin 100 year-old women

WATCH: Mike Napoli hits home run as bat shatters

WATCH: Marc Gasol misses shot, rips jersey in disgust

PHOTO: Minor league team to wear Jabba the Hutt jerseys

Lions LB DeAndre Levy takes ride on top of a moving plane

Colts owner addresses Indiana religious freedom bill

John Calipari addresses controversial ND comments

Arizona coach Sean Miller rips critics: 'Go cheer for ASU'

Report: NFL could push extra point back to 15-yard line

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

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

Namath parties with 100 yr-old women

Report: Shaka Smart talking to Texas

Rick Barnes to land at Tennessee?

Browns GM suspended for texts

Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box

Mayweather-Pacquiao: It's sparring tall-tale season

The MLBPA has a problem

Final Four preview: Can every team win?

Full WrestleMania 31 recap and results

Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

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.