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Around the Horn with TCI: Clemson Season Predictions

Football season is back and so is Around the Horn with The Clemson Insider. TCI staff members Robert MacRae, Gavin Oliver and Will Vandervort go Around the Horn to answer some of the questions surrounding Clemson athletics and college football.

What are your predictions for Clemson in 2017?

Robert MacRae:  

There are plenty of questions heading into the 2017 season. Many believe this will be a rebuilding year for the Tigers but Clemson doesn’t rebuild, they reload. The Tigers will be tested a lot in the month of September. If they make it through September with one loss or less then lookout.

I expect Clemson to take care of business against Auburn in Week 2 and gain some respect from some around the nation that are overlooking the Tigers this year.

Road trips to Louisville and Virginia Tech will be a challenge for a young quarterback. The Tigers will split the ACC road trips and enter October with a 4-1 record.

Clemson will get better as the season goes along as the offense will gain much needed experience and confidence. Florida State will visit Death Valley in November with the Atlantic Division on the line and the Tigers will take care of business with ESPN GameDay in attendance. The Tigers will finish the regular season 11-1.

Another trip to Charlotte will be on tap the first weekend in December and Clemson will come home with another ACC Title and another trip to the College Football Playoff.

Clemson will have one of the top defenses in the nation and this year that defense will lead the Tigers to another ACC Championship and a return trip to the College Football Playoff.

Gavin Oliver:  

I think another special year is ahead for the Tigers, who will accomplish their seventh straight season with 10 wins or more, win their third consecutive ACC Championship and appear in the College Football Playoff for the third time in its four-year existence.

After disposing of Kent State in the season opener, Clemson edges Auburn in a back-and-forth Week 2 showdown as Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham finds Clemson’s defense much more menacing than the Big 12 defenses he faced when he was last on the field in 2015. The tolls of that physical matchup show up on the road the following week, when Louisville avenges three straight one-score losses to Clemson thanks to some big plays from Lamar Jackson late. Following some shaky quarterback play over the first few weeks, Clemson finds a rhythm offensively, earns another big win at Virginia Tech on Sept. 30 and relies on its smothering defense to run the table the rest of the way. Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and company cause too many problems for Florida State’s offensive line in a game that again decides the ACC and sends the Tigers back to the conference title game. There, Clemson beats Miami to finish the regular season 12-1 and earn another berth in the playoff.

Will Vandervort: 
I know some people may say I’m crazy, but I can see this year’s team is going 11-1. The Tigers are loaded on defense and will have one of the best units in the country this year. They can carry the Tigers alone, especially if they can force turnovers and score on defense as well.
Though the offense is young, it too is loaded with talent and not just at the skill positions. Clemson’s offense line is the best it has had since Dabo Swinney has been at Clemson, and that is including his five years as a wide receivers coach, too.
If Kelly Bryant becomes the quarterback I think he can be and just manages the offense and takes care of the football, then Clemson will win a lot of football games.
I know a lot of you think if Clemson loses a game it will come at Louisville, but I think the lose will in Blacksburg in Week 5 against Virginia Tech.

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