Clemson is a huge favorite over The Citadel, can Clemson cover the number? (Photo by USAToday Sports)
As most already know Clemson is currently going into their home opener against The Citadel as 44.5 point favorites. Large spreads will be the case for a number of games the Tigers will play this season. After the offensive showing along with the game that the defense played last weekend, it is understandable. The sky appears to be the limit for this team.
Can Clemson live up to the odds makers expectations? This is where being as good as Clemson is right now becomes a double-edged sword. Odds makers, along with fans, look for the Tigers to score at will like they did when Trevor Lawrence and the starters were in the game against Wake Forest.
Meanwhile, Dabo Swinney and his staff like to get the second, third, fourth string, the towel, and the water boys in to the game in order to get them some experience and also build team depth. Especially, once they feel they have a comfortable lead.
Something else to think about is the backups to Trevor Lawrence, as good as they are, only went four of seven passing with one interception and didn’t score. Just how much will offensive coordinator Tony Elliott will open the play book up for D.J. Uiagalelei or Taisun Phommachanh when they come in to relieve Lawrence.
The same goes for the defense. Brent Venables’ starters did a very good job against Wake Forest. The backups gave up 10 of the 13 points Wake scored late in the fourth quarter and up until then the Tigers were covering the spread.
Obvioulsy, Wake is a better team than The Citadel but there are still some that feel the Demon Deacons shouldn’t have scored the last 10 points and hope that the second and third string defense can shore that up.
The Citadel is a scrappy team that seems to play their best games against the better teams. In 2018 they went to the half tied at 10 with Alabama. Then last year they beat Georgia Tech 27-24. Heck, they have beaten the Gamecocks multiple times.
They have an efficient offense that likes to eat up clock, so they can make things more interesting than many would like at times. Clemson can not sleep on this team or the point spread won’t be the concern the Tigers will have.
Can they cover spread this week? Yes, Clemson can put that many points on the Bulldogs but that will mean that the second and third string players are going to have to be able to score some points and keep The Citadel from scoring points in garbage time.