Clemson enters the 2019 season as the kings of college football after their 44-16 dismantling of the mighty Crimson Tide. They also come into the 2019 season looking to do something that has not been accomplished since the 2011-2012 seasons, and that is win back to back national titles. Speaking of the Tide, Alabama just so happens to be the last team to win consecutive titles seven years ago.
It is a feat that hasn’t been easy to accomplish, however. Since 1980 it has only been done twice. Tom Osborne and his Nebraska Corhuskers did it in 1994 and 1995 and it was not done again until the Tide won back to back titles in 2011-12. In today’s landscape, it is even more difficult. Now, it takes 15 games to win it all. That is one more than those Bama teams and two more than those Nebraska teams.
When practice starts in the next few weeks, Clemson will be the favorites to win it all again. The Tigers were ranked number one in the ESPN preseason FPI Rankings with an 83% shot at getting back to the playoff. Alabama was second with a 71% chance. Michigan and Georgia were thir and fourth with 41 and 40 percent shots respectively.
CFB Playoff title odds via @SuperBookUSA
Mich, OU 14-1
LSU, Texas 25-1
ND, Wash 30-1
UF, Oregon, Neb, A&M 40-1
FSU, Iowa, Miami, MissSt, PennSt, USC, Utah, WashSt 100-1
MichSt, OkSt, TCU, VT 200-1
Outside of the Tigers Week 2 matchup at home against Texas A&M, Clemson is expected to be a three touchdown favorite in every game. Presently, they stand as 17 point favorites over the Aggies. Most assume this team should roll into the ACC Title Game, and then into the College Football Playoff. The only thing standing in the way of that is themselves, and of course the injury bug. This program has been more than fortunate when it comes to serious injury in recent years, and to reach that ultimate goal again this season, they will have to again.
With a bevy of talent at the receiver position and Trevor Lawrence pulling the trigger, this offense should be fun to watch. With man child Justyn Ross set to step into a starting role opposite Tee Higgins, opposing defensive coordinators will now have to game plan for both being on the field at the same time, instead of one subbing in for the other. The nation got a preview of just how lethal that can be in Santa Clara. That isn’t even mentioning the fact Lawrence also has the luxury of handing the ball off to the best running back in the country in Travis Etienne.
On defense things are a little more unclear. The Tigers must replace eight starters and the entire defensive front. The Power Rangers are now a thing of the past. However, there is a ton of elite talent itching to step into those roles and get their shot. At linebacker, it’s the same thing as they will have to replace two of the three starters there as well. They won’t be as seasoned, but for the most part they will not be entirely inexperienced either. Knowing that, it would be crazy not to expect an “adjustment period” on the defensive side early on, but the offense should be able to pick up any slack. As the season wears on, expect the unit to get better and better.
Winning back to back titles would put Dabo and his program in that rarefied air. It would cement the program as a present day dynasty. Even the most pessimistic of fan has to have learned by now that it just isn’t smart to bet against Dabo Swinney and this program. History might suggest a repeat is unlikely, but the smart money just might say different.