Texas A&M at Clemson 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Since Clemson became the might sword that slashed through the realm of College Football – let’s say since 2015 – they’ve had a habit of starting off with one or two sloppy, close games against teams they were expected to decimate.
Dating back to 2015, that would include a 20-17 win over Louisville in Week 3 and a 24-22 home win over Notre Dame. The Tigers went on to win all the rest then lose to Alabama 45-40 to Alabama in a hell of a game.
In 2016, they squeaked by Auburn 19-16 and beat Troy 30-24 thanks to a bad call that called back a Trojan scoop-and-score when Deshaun Watkins obviously fumbled before the whistle. (Sorry, I’m still a little bitter over this one).
The Tigers went on to beat Alabama 35-31 in one of the damndest games anybody ever saw.
In 2017, they ground out a hideous 14-6 win over Auburn and lost to Syracuse 27-24 but still won their so-so conference and Bama’s defense did terrible things to them 24-6 in the first round of the playoffs.
Last year, they did everything but lose to Texas A&M before picking up a 28-26 road win. They coasted through the ACC except for a close one with Syracuse, then beat Alabama’s guts out in the championship game.
Why all this history, those of your still reading are asking?
Well, this is why people think Texas A&M is going to cruise into Clemson and give second-year, expensive coach Jimbo Fisher his first super-signature victory.
I saw Clemson just beat the dog out of Georgia Tech last week. Georgia Tech is pretty awful, but it was a merciless thing to behold. Their defense looked as good as last year, which is to say, real, real, real good. Some folks are saying 6-foot-6 golden-haired, angular-featured, 19-year-old quarterback Thor Odinson didn’t hurl the hammer as well as he did, say, against Alabama last year when he beat them like yard dogs. But he was probably tired from handing off to Travis Etienne and watching him run through the pitiable Yellow Jacket defense like a hay mower though an endless field of golden wheat at harvest time.
That’s why I kind of have a feeling Clemson will dispense with Texas A&M en route to yet another romp through the ACC, and a trip to the playoffs.
Texas A&M is ranked 11th, and their quarterback, Kellen Mond, is a dangerous man. He threw for 430 yards against Clemson last year in the near-miss. If he can do that again, it’ll be interesting, but see, he threw for 430 last year and still lost, so how many will he need to get to win this year? 500? Yeah, about that, probably.
Clemson is a 17.5 point favorite, which seems a little high. If somebody held a gun to my head and made me bet, I’d bet Clemson to cover. But that’s only one reason I’m glad there’s nobody in my house aiming a gun at my head.
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