The College Football season is getting closer and closer, and Thursday it got one day closer as Danny Sheridan got Clemson fans excited by predicting the Tigers as his favorite to win the 2018 National Championship.
Sheridan has been the college football odds maker for USA TODAY Sports for more than three decades. On the Paul Finebaum Show Thursday, he released his predictions for the College Football Playoff.
Once again, Sheridan has predicted Clemson to win the Atlantic Coast Conference and advance to the CFP for a fourth straight season. He also has Alabama and Washington in the final four along with newcomer Penn State.
Sheridan has Clemson winning it all.
Sheridan is the first odds maker and/or expert to pick Clemson as the national champion this year. Most everyone else has Alabama as the favorite to win it all again in 2018.
But the revenge factor has played a big role in the national championship the last two years. After Clemson lost to Alabama in the 2015 title game, the Tigers came back hungrier in 2016 and beat the Crimson Tide to win the national championship.
Last year, Alabama snuck into the playoff, though it did not win its own division in the SEC. However, Bama’ beat Clemson in the rematch in the Sugar Bowl and then proved it belonged in the playoff by beating Georgia in the national championship game.
Now it appears to be Clemson’s turn, again.
Picking Clemson is not a bad pick. If anything it is a safe one for Sheridan. The Tigers return a strong group of experienced and decorated players as they ever have for any previous year.
In all, Clemson returns 62 lettermen from the 2017 team, the most returning lettermen in Clemson history. Of those 62, 17 are returning starters, the second most in one reason.
Of those 17 starters coming back, four were First-Team All-Americans in 2017—OT Mitch Hyatt, DT Christian Wilkins, DE Clelin Ferrell and DE Austin Bryant—which is also a Clemson record. Of course Wilkins, Ferrell and Bryant all play on the defensive line. It is believed to mark the first time in the history of college football a defensive line returned three First-Team All-Americans.
The Tigers also return five other starters on a unit that was second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 13.6 points per game. They were also fourth in total defense (276.7), fourth in passing yards allowed (161.9) and 12th in rushing yards allowed (114.9).
Clemson led the ACC in scoring, total, rushing and passing defense, the first time in school history it led the ACC in all four major defensive categories.
On offense, 72 percent of the offense from 2017 is back, including quarterback Kelly Bryant, running back Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow.
If Clemson were to win the national championship, again, it would mark the third time in the history of the program it has won college football’s biggest prize. Besides winning the 2016 title, Danny Ford’s 1981 Tigers went 12-0 and claimed the national championship by beating Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl.
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