The gap between Clemson and the rest of the ACC has been obvious in recent years as the Tigers have captured five straight conference titles and are riding a 26-game winning streak against conference opponents — two games shy of the 2012-15 Florida State Seminoles for the second-longest streak in league history.
Given Clemson’s dominance, Syracuse head coach Dino Babers doesn’t deny that his program, along with everyone else in the ACC, is chasing Clemson. However, Babers believes the ACC isn’t alone in that regard and no other college football team is on the level of the Tigers, who have their sights set on returning to the College Football Playoff for the sixth straight year and winning it all for the third time since the 2016-17 season.
“Based off of those guys winning the national championship two out of the last four years and the facilities that they have compared to everybody else in the conference, I think the entire country is chasing Clemson,” Babers said Monday during his weekly press conference. “Alabama is chasing Clemson. Everybody is chasing Clemson. And I think it’s fortunate for us that every year, we get an opportunity to play them. I don’t look at that as something that’s bad. I look at that as something that’s good, and unfortunately this year we’re really banged up and we’ve got a bunch of young guys going against some really good first-round draft picks that are going to be playing in the National Football League.”
Fresh off an upset 38-21 loss to Liberty on Saturday, Syracuse (1-4, 1-3 ACC) is a whopping 45.5-point underdog heading into its 12 p.m. matchup against top-ranked Clemson (5-0, 4-0) at Death Valley on Saturday.
Most people — outside of Syracuse players and maybe the most diehard portion of its fan base — don’t think the Orange stand a chance against the Tigers, who are coming off a 73-7 road victory over a Georgia Tech team that Syracuse beat by 17 points at home on Sept. 26.
But despite the challenge and odds against his team, Babers says his players are excited for their shot at “probably the best football team in the U.S. right now.”
“We enjoy challenges like that. Even though things may not work out the way people see them, that’s what we get in it for,” Babers said.
“No one expects you to win outside the family, and to be able to compete in a situation like that, to measure up to see where you’re at, we’ll see,” he later added. “We saw what the team did last week and we saw what the final score was last week, and that was a team that fortunately we beat, but it was a close game, and it wasn’t a close game with those guys. So, we understand how tall the task is, but we’ll be there.”
Another championship season is underway for the Tigers. It’s time to gear up for another year of Clemson football.
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