Clemson is 12-1. It has won back-to-back ACC Championships for the first time in 28 years. It earned a second straight appearance in the College Football Playoff. However, defensive tackle Carlos Watkins says the Tigers still have not played their best football.
“There is definitely another level we can get to,” the senior said.
That might be a little scary for teams like Ohio State, Washington and Alabama to think about when the semifinals begin on New Year’s Eve. Clemson, the No. 2 seed, will play Ohio State in the CFP at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona on New Year’s Eve.
The winner will play the winner of Peach Bowl between Alabama vs. Washington in Tampa, Florida on Jan. 9 in the national championship game.
So why haven’t the Tigers hit that next level?
They’ve come close. Since its one-point loss to Pitt back on Nov. 12, Clemson has played pretty well. They ran through Wake Forest and South Carolina by a combined score of 91-20 and then played well in beating No. 22 Virginia Tech, 42-35, in the ACC Championship Game.
“We have been locked in these past few games … offense and defense has looked pretty good. But we have to get a few things corrected,” Watkins said.
But not much as the Tigers know what it takes to win games like the Fiesta Bowl.
“We are battled tested. Coach (Dabo) Swinney tells us that all the time. Going there last year, we know what it takes to get there,” Watkins said.
Clemson has 29 players on its two deep that played in the national championship game against Alabama in Glendale last January.
“Last year, losing in Arizona was tough. So we’re definitely going to remember that, stay focused and get back to the Natty,” Watkins said. If we get those little things corrected, we can definitely take it to another level.”