Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 1/11/13
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

Adrian Peterson accused of fathering another child out of wedlock

Robert Griffin III liked fan’s Instagram post trashing Redskins

Report: Tom Brady may have been ‘open’ to one-game suspension

Fenway Park staff reportedly confiscating Don Orsillo signs

Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer betting on himself

Titans' Marcus Mariota: ‘Statistics don’t matter to me’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

FSU names Everett Golson starting QB for 2015

UCLA's Adams arrested for suspicion of felony robbery

AJ Green heading for contract stalemate with Bengals?

Report: NFL offered to cut Brady suspension to 3 games

Report: Tristan Thompson won’t take below max from Cavs

Most surprising developments from 2015 NFL preseason

Herschel Walker supports Trump’s candidacy for president

WATCH: Kevin Kiermaier robs Manny Machado home run shot

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Caroline Wozniacki smoking on cover of ‘Rhapsody’ magazine

Could Robert Griffin III be the NFL’s next Steve Young?

Spurrier: SEC fans right to be upset with Ohio State's schedule

Report: 'Deranged' fan shot outside WWE building

Report: Brady convinced Harbaugh to return to Michigan

Ronda Rousey gets Venice mural from artist Jonas Never

Redskins TE wants to know who's leaking stories to ESPN

WWE superstar's girlfriend fired over Nazi Instagram posts

Madison Bumgarner has once again put Giants on his back

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

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

Caroline Wozniacki smoking cover of ‘Rhapsody’

Everett Golson named FSU's starting QB

Urban Meyer won't announce QB before season

Teammates relieved RG3 was benched?

Five NFL teams that should trade for Robert Griffin III

10 takeaways from Week 3 of the NFL preseason

Cubs' Jake Arrieta no-hits the Dodgers

Chicago Bears release Tim Jennings

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker