According to writer for Gig 'Em Gazette Jeff Shull, Clemson should not be a three-score favorite against the Texas A&M Aggies.
"I am in no way saying Texas A&M football will defeat Clemson on September 7 in South Carolina. I’m not guaranteeing a victory, and I’m not really even guaranteeing the game will be close. Any given Saturday anything can happen," Shull wrote."However, I am definitely saying the betting line for this game should not be three scores. My super-intelligent internet research (read: I am a human in 2019 who can use Google) showed the line for the game is anywhere between -17 and -21 for Clemson. For those who have never seen a betting line before, that means Clemson is favored to win by that many points."
He continued to stating that he believes that Swinney is the best coach in college football--even better than Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
"I have to give credit where it’s due. Clemson is an excellent football program led by an excellent head coach," Shull continued. "All credit to Nick Saban, but Dabo Swinney is the best coach in college football. Recruiting is absolutely part of the job description, but the sheer amount of talent Saban recruits makes it almost unfair. He should win the championship every year, to be honest. He’s had the top recruiting class just about every year for a decade.
"Swinney and the Tigers had maybe the most talented team ever assembled and completed an undefeated season as maybe the greatest team in college football history. If they aren’t, they are definitely in that conversation."
Shull added that his reasoning for saying the Tigers are not three scores better than the Aggies is two-fold.
First, that the Tigers have to replace numerous pieces off a team that needed a "botched touchback" call in their game last year to escape the state of Texas with a 2-point win.
Second, Shull states the fact that the Aggies have Jimbo Fisher--formerly head coach of division rival Florida State. However, in the same breath, Shull admits that Seminoles, under Fisher's leadership, were only 1-3 against the Tigers in games played at Death Valley.
"Is the home field advantage worth 15-18 points for the odds makers? Maybe it shouldn’t be given Jimbo’s history of playing at Clemson," Shull continued. "Yes, Florida State went 1-3 against the Tigers in their stadium, but all three losses were close, even when Clemson severely outmatched the Seminoles in talent. The 2017 team had no business being on the same field as Clemson but still only lost 31-14. The other loses were by 10 to the No. 1-ranked team in 2015 and by five to No. 21. Fisher also beat the tar off No. 3 Clemson 51-14 in their national championship season.
"Fisher is familiar with Clemson. He won’t be intimidated by the atmosphere and will be able to prepare his players who have never made the trip to Memorial Stadium. He proved how much he can adjust on the fly against Brent Venables in the game last year. After being held to just six points in the first half last year, Kellen Mond and the offense was firing on all cylinders in the second half."
While the Tigers may have held on for a win last season, let's not forget a couple of things.
First, that was the second game of the Trevor Lawrence's career--a game in which he split time with former Tiger quarterback Kelly Bryant--and was a far-cry from the quarterback that finished the season as the best quarterback in college football
Second, Justyn Ross--who finished the season as one of the most dynamic wide receivers in the nation--did not have a reception in the game. And finally, the Tigers are not in the business of rebuilding on the defensive side of the ball--they simply reload.
"I'm not worried about the people that think we are going to take a step back," Tiger defensive end K.J. Henry said. "We don't have to rebuild at Clemson, we just reload. That's just what we do."
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