Is anyone in the ACC really a viable threat to the Tigers?
The Clemson Football program has now won four straight ACC Titles. The last two were won in dominating fashion in Charlotte.
ACC Media Days were held recently and the Tigers were overwhelming favorites to win their fifth straight conference title. They got every vote but three, as Syracuse inexplicably received two votes and Virginia one.
So, are there any teams that can derail Clemson’s season and keep them from winning the ACC in 2019? Just one….. Clemson.
Assuming everyone is healthy and the Tigers bring their A game week in and week out, this team should breeze into Charlotte that first Saturday of December. There’s just too much talent compared to any other ACC teams.
Having said that, two thirds of the Tigers roster consists of underclassmen. Most, if not all, of this team’s leaders from the past season or two will now be playing on Sunday’s. So this team’s biggest threat is itself. It’ll be interesting to see which guys evolve into those leadership roles and help ensure no complacency sets in.
Complacency can be a great teams biggest enemy. Fortunately, this program is led by a head coach that has instilled a culture that generally keeps complacency at arms length. If the naysayers are waiting on that, they best not be holding their breath.
So if complacency doesn’t get them, can any ACC team other than Clemson win the conference in 2019? As Dabo likes to say, never say never, but as for this particular subject, the chances seem to be slim and none.
In the Atlantic, Syracuse and FSU are the only teams that have any kind of shot at dethroning the defending champions, as unlikely as that is. The Orange have to replace QB Eric Dungey, along with three offensive linemen on the offensive side. They’ve also got to replace a couple of linebackers. Most importantly, this is a team that you can best bet will have the Tigers attention. After the last two games against the Orange, one would have to assume Clemson goes up there with a chip on its shoulder and something to prove.
The Seminoles are coming off one of their most disastrous seasons in recent memory in 2018, their first season under Willie Taggert. There’s still a ton of work to do along the offensive line but it’s FSU, so they’re going to have talent all over the field at most other positions. It’s a big season for Taggert, and he’s going to need get to eight or nine wins to show Noles fans that he just might be the man for the job. Whether that actually happens is an entirely different story, and it’ll take more than that to win this conference anyways.
On the other side in the Coastal, it’s really hard to say there’s any team capable of beating the Tigers in Charlotte, while keeping a straight face. UVA and Va Tech are both seemingly headed in the right direction, but neither are anywhere close to the level of the Tigers from a talent perspective.
Miami is another team that some are trying to hype under first year coach Manny Diaz. Recruits seem to connect with the rookie head coach but the Canes weren’t even picked to win the Coastal, as that honor went to the Wahoo’s. Baby steps.
So to sum things up, outside of themselves, there doesn’t seem to be an ACC team capable of keeping the Tigers from once again hoisting that trophy in Charlotte. Not on paper anyways. The games however, aren’t played on paper and we’re talking about a fairly young team that will get every opponent’s best shot. The question becomes, is any ACC teams best shot be good enough to keep Clemson from winning the ACC Title again.