A few weeks ago on CBS Sports Network, former Georgia quarterback and current CBS Sports college football analyst Aaron Murray called Clemson the most overhyped top-25 team heading into the 2021 season.
But even Murray didn’t expect to see the Tigers’ offense perform so poorly against Georgia last Saturday, when quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei and company managed only 180 total yards of offense, including 2 yards rushing while allowing seven sacks and committing the pivotal pick-six that proved to be the difference in a 10-3 defeat.
Despite Uiagalelei’s showing against the Bulldogs, Murray believes he will still be one of the nation’s best signal-callers moving forward.
“I was surprised,” Murray said of Clemson’s offensive performance against UGA in an appearance on The Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio. “D.J. Uiagalelei, he looked confused. And I know Kirk Herbstreit said it a lot during the broadcast (on ABC), but it was true – he looked like the game was just happening too fast. I think the kid is uber-talented. I think he’s going to still be – and I think there’s a lot of people out there with the same belief – he’s going to be one of the premier quarterbacks in this country, whether it’s this year or next year before he gets ready for the NFL. He has all the tools.
“Unfortunately, he faced the best defense in the country, Week 1, an offensive line that is not very good, an inability to run the football and just a lot of pressure on him to go out there and be perfect, which is just not feasible against what Georgia was going to be able to bring. So, a little bit surprised.”
While Murray thinks the Tigers will run the table the rest of the way and capture their seventh consecutive ACC title, he isn’t sure it will be enough for them to make the College Football Playoff for the seventh year in a row.
“The good thing for them, just like Georgia, the schedule’s not super tough down the stretch for Clemson,” he said. “They should still take care of business in the ACC. But to me, when you see what happened with the ACC this weekend – Miami got just stomped by Alabama, North Carolina lost a game to Virginia Tech, (Monday night) Louisville lost to Ole Miss. It’s just a very weak conference. So, even if they do win out and win the ACC, I just don’t know if they deserve a chance to be in that final four at the end of the day.”
Although he knows injuries and crazy things can happen in college football, as it stands right now, Murray sees both Georgia and Alabama making the CFP along with Ohio State and Oklahoma, leaving Clemson “on the outside looking in.”
“If Georgia does what they did this past weekend and just gets a little bit better offensively, they should be undefeated,” Murray said. “I don’t think anyone’s taking down Alabama, they’re just too darn good. You have a chance to see two undefeated teams in the SEC Championship Game. It doesn’t matter who wins, who loses, both teams are going to be in the playoff at the end of the day. Then it’s Ohio State most likely, then it’s Oklahoma, and I just think Clemson, even if they’re 12-1, they’re going to be on the outside looking in based on the performance versus the Dawgs and just based on how overall weak the ACC is this year.”
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