Clemson Preview: Every Year Is Different


Clemson_LogoAuburn’s football 2016 season begins under the lights with the 2015 national runner-up this Saturday night. Considering Auburn played in and won the Birmingham Bowl last year, it obviously means they’ll be blown out, right?

Of course not. It’s Auburn, in an underdog role, late at night in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

By the way, if you’re looking for me to go over how Clemson copies all of Auburn’s stuff and how weird they are, go here. In this post, I’ll be slightly trash talking about football with all the positivity required to be an Auburn fan in 2016.

Deshaun Watson, Clemson’s quarterback, will be starting his 2016 Heisman campaign on the Plains. He’s leading a team, as I mentioned, that lost to Alabama by 5 points in last year’s National Championship Game. That means they will only be improved and much better, and ready to right all the wrongs. That’s what always happens.

NOPE.

Remember 2014? Well let’s go back to 2013 first. Remember how Auburn was a play a way from a national championship. And remember their quarterback was Nick Marshall? And remember how he and most of the team was coming back to Auburn in 2014?

So let me ask that again. Remember 2014? Did Auburn win the national championship? Did they even make the playoffs, or the SEC Championship Game? Did they even beat Georgia? Or Mississippi State? Or Texas A&M? Or Alabama?

No. They didn’t.

Because every year is different. And just because you have pretty much the exact team, it doesn’t mean that everything will improve.

Now I know you can say that 2014 team was actually better, they just played a tougher schedule, so your feeble attempt at making this sound like what potentially could be the case for Clemson this year is moot. And you may be right. But that’s actually the case for Clemson as well.

They did end the regular season undefeated last year. You know why? Not one time did they travel to Jordan-Hare Stadium under the dark of night last season. They play in the ACC, and their two toughest games were against Florida State and Notre Dame. They played both at home. When they went on the road they beat Louisville by 3, and 3-win South Carolina by 5.

So, because you think Deshaun Watson was great last year, and he’s coming back this year, it doesn’t mean it’s great and even going to be greater. It’s a tougher season, with a much tougher atmosphere than maybe every game they played all last year. And everything is different. Everything.

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This wasn’t a team that beatdown everybody last year and will just continue to do so by much more this season. They had weaknesses last year, and they probably have more this year. They have glaring weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball. Their offensive line has never seen a defensive line as deep as Auburn’s.

It’s really easy to go “National Championship Game quarterback is coming back and Auburn is playing the guy who threw some picks in the Birmingham Bowl” and think blowout, but you’re underestimating the fact that it’s the first game, it’s in Auburn, one of the greatest night atmospheres in college football, and we know nothing about either team.

If you skipped all the way to the bottom of this post because all that up there was too much, this is what I’m saying: Clemson is good. They weren’t as good as of the offseason made them. They struggled on the road against bad teams. And just because Deshaun Watson returns doesn’t mean they are just going to be even better than what you thought they were. They may be. They may win by 30.

But they won’t. There’s plenty of reasons they won’t. But I don’t know anything. And neither do you. It’s the first game. So let’s throw it all out and think about what’s happened in Jordan-Hare Stadium at night.

Auburn 37, Clemson 31