In the 2018-2019 college football season there was one team that stood above the rest and it wasn’t even close. After accomplishing an undefeated season and knocking off Alabama in the National Championship game, what’s next for the program that didn’t have a blemish on their record last season? The answer? Do it again.
Trevor Lawrence opened the offseason as the favorite to win the Heisman at +285 (Bovada) and it’s hard to argue that it should be anyone else. Taking the college scene by storm last season, the former number one recruit out of Cartersville, Georgia was certainly impressive, posting a 5-0 record after taking over the starting job. The pro style quarterback has a beyond NFL ready arm and is poised to continue to show his dominance in the upcoming season. Lawrence is already being dubbed by some NFL experts as the consensus number 1 pick in the 2021 draft, a label I don’t recall ever being given to someone so far in advanced.
A special talent for sure, but Trevor Lawrence won’t be the only weapon the Clemson Tigers have to rely on this year. Clemson returns their 1,600 yard and 26 total touchdown stud running back Travis Etienne, the Louisiana native will be looking to improve on an already a fantastic sophomore campaign. If Etienne and the Tigers strong offensive line can open up the ground game for Lawrence, Clemson can look to returning wide receivers, Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross to help carry the load through the air. The two combined for almost 2,000 yards in the air and 23 receiving touchdowns.
With more weapons on offense than Dabo will know what to do with the Tigers will look to Isaiah Simmons, last season’s leading tackler, to help anchor the defense. Xavier Thomas, the unanimous freshman All-American, will look to create more havoc on the edge and get in the backfield. With big shoes to fill with the departing Clelin Ferrell, the pressure will be on the sophomore Thomas to build on last season’s success when he steps in to a starting role.
Taking a look at the 2019 opponents on the Tigers schedule, it’s hard to see anyone putting up much of a challenge. It will take something special for Clemson to lose a game before the ACC championship. A few games I think Clemson have the best chance to slip up in, September 14th at Syracuse, and November 30th at South Carolina. The Orange have a habit of knocking off some powerhouse teams at the Carrier Dome, just ask Dabo Sweeney about it in 2017. If things go as planned for Clemson, they should enter that November 30th matchup unbeaten, a night game in Columbia is never a cake walk and you know Clemson will have a huge target on their back, especially if they still haven’t lost.
Barring any season changing injuries it’s hard to see Clemson missing out on the College Football Playoffs. Are we looking at another potential Alabama/ Clemson National Championship? On paper it sure looks like a real possibility.