ESPN's Dinich on when we'll know if Clemson is a national title contender

ESPN's Dinich on when we'll know if Clemson is a national title contender


ESPN's Dinich on when we'll know if Clemson is a national title contender


Heather Dinich, who covers the College Football Playoff for ESPN, recently published an article on strengths, weaknesses and stats to know for college football’s playoff contenders (subscription required).

For Clemson (2-0, 1-0 ACC), the stat Dinich pointed out is that in the CFP era (since 2014), the Tigers have made the playoff all six times in seasons which they began 2-0 (2015-20). Dinich noted that the Tigers missed the playoff in 2014 and 2021, when they didn’t begin 2-0 in those campaigns.

Dinich also gave a reason for optimism and reason for concern regarding Clemson, pointing to DJ Uiagalelei showing improvement and Will Shipley being a reliable running back to help Uiagalelei out as the reason for optimism.

“Uiagalelei’s 231 passing yards against Furman were his highest total in his past five games,” Dinich wrote. “Shipley became Clemson’s first player over the past 25 years to score multiple rushing touchdowns in each of the first two games of a season.”

As for the reason for concern, Dinich cited Clemson’s inabilty to play a complete game thus far this season against two lesser opponents in Georgia Tech and Furman.

“Against Georgia Tech, Clemson’s first four drives resulted in a trio of three-and-outs and one turnover,” she wrote. “Saturday, Clemson’s defense allowed FCS Furman 384 total yards.”

Dinich says we’ll know in mid-October whether the Tigers can contend for the national title.

“Following the Oct. 15 game at Florida State, Clemson will have established its place in the Atlantic Division race, and if the Tigers can finish as one-loss or undefeated ACC champions, the program and the league can reassert itself in the national picture,” Dinich wrote. “A win at Notre Dame on Nov. 5 won’t help Clemson if the Irish don’t pull it together and finish in the CFP top 25, but a loss would be costly if Clemson doesn’t win the ACC or loses to South Carolina.”

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