What the pundits are predicting for the Tigers in an early look at the 2013 football season:
7. Clemson: This ranking is contingent upon quarterback Tajh Boyd returning for another season. If he does (ED: he did), the Tigers should once again field one of the country’s most potent offenses. Look for wide receiver Sammy Watkins to return to his freshman form and team with DeAndre Hopkins to comprise the nation’s best receiving duo (if Hopkins doesn’t declare for the draft). Clemson must rebuild its secondary, but there aren’t too many teams on its schedule that it can’t out-score.
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9. Clemson: The Tigers exorcised a few postseason demons by coming from behind to upset then-No. 8 LSU 25-24 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve. If quarterback Tajh Boyd decides to return for his senior season, the Tigers might be playing on New Year’s Day (or even later) next year. Boyd is deciding whether to enter the NFL draft; he threw for 3,896 yards with 36 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and ran for 514 yards with 10 TDs in offensive coordinator Chad Morris’ high-powered spread offense. Junior receiver DeAndre Hopkins also might leave after catching 82 passes for 1,405 yards with 18 touchdowns. If those two come back, Clemson will return seven starters on offense and six on defense in 2013. They definitely will lose senior tailback Andre Ellington, who ran for 1,081 yards with eight touchdowns. The Tigers will play an aggressive nonconference schedule in 2013, opening the season against Georgia at Death Valley. They also will play The Citadel and Kent State at home and South Carolina on the road.
10. Clemson: Clemson’s offense had plenty of firepower in 2012. The Tigers ranked in the top 10 nationally in both scoring offense and total offense, averaging 42 points and 518 yards per game. However, that offensive talent wasn’t enough to win the two biggest games of the season against Florida State and South Carolina
Because of their shortcomings on the big stage, the Tigers failed to make it back to the ACC championship game and a BCS bowl this season.
They could be in store for a trip next year, though, with the return of QB Tajh Boyd and WRs DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. Boyd, Hopkins and Watkins are the type of passing combination that is capable of lighting up any defense that it faces.