Clemson will once again be the team to beat when the 2020 football season begins. At least that is what some preseason polls think, such as Athlon Magazine, which has the Tigers ranked No. 1 in its rankings.
It is a good place to start a season. However, Clemson will have a few teams it will have to keep an eye on that potentially could keep its dreams of winning another national championship from coming true.
The Clemson Insider has already taken a look at North Carolina and Notre Dame as potential challengers. The Tigers play the Irish on Nov. 7 in South Bend, while the Tar Heels will likely be the favorites to challenge Clemson in the ACC Championship Game in December.
Though the Tigers will not play LSU in the regular season, the Bayou Bengals could be a likely opponent in the College Football Playoff, again. The defending national champions, who beat Clemson in last year’s title game, are No. 8 in Athlon’s preseason rankings.
LSU no longer has Heisman winner Joe Burrow and the guru, Joe Brady, behind its record-breaking offense. They have both moved on to the NFL, as well as other major contributors on both offense and defense from the 2019 team.
That means head coach Ed Orgeron will likely have to start over again. Junior quarterback Myles Brennan will take over for Burrow at quarterback. He will have some talented wide receivers to throw the ball to, including the return of the nation’s top receiver in Ja’Marr Chase.
Clemson’s secondary is still having nightmares after what he did to them in the national championship game. Last year, Chase led the country with 1,780 yards on just 84 catches. His 20 touchdowns also led the country.
Chase caught a CFP record nine passes for a record 221 yards and two touchdowns in LSU’s 42-25 win over Clemson in the title game. The Baton Rouge Tigers also bring back Terrance Marshall. He caught 46 passes last year for 671 yards and scored 13 touchdowns.
LSU must replace Thaddeus Moss at tight end, but five-star freshman Arik Gilbert should help get over the loss. At running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has moved on to the NFL and the offensive line returns just one starter.
On defense, Bo Pelini takes over as defensive coordinator now that Dave Aranda has moved on to be the head coach at Baylor. Under Pelini the defense will move to more of a 4-3 scheme.
The good news for Pelini is he will have plenty of talent to work. Once again, LSU is loaded with skill players all over the defense, which will be the team’s strength while the offense tries to find its rhythm early in the season.
Again, LSU has one of the more difficult schedules in the country. It will host Texas on Sept. 12, and later will host Alabama. The Bayou Bengals will have difficult road games at Auburn, Texas A&M and Florida, as well.
Getting back to the CFP is not likely, but LSU is definitely a team Clemson should keep an eye on in 2020.
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