Tougher opponent for Clemson football in 2018, Texas A&M or FSU?

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 25: James Blackman /

Clemson football can’t seem to shake Jimbo Fisher. The Tigers are set to face Texas A&M (Fisher’s new program) and Florida State (Fisher’s old program) in 2018. Which opponent will prove toughest for Clemson?

Jimbo Fisher’s tenure at Florida State came to a not-so pleasant end – for the school at least. I’m sure Fisher didn’t mind signing a 10 year, 75 million dollar contract with Texas A&M. After leading the ‘Noles to a National Championship in 2013, the program seemed to be lacking in motivation for the past four seasons.

Fisher and company consistently recruited well, talent surely wasn’t the problem. Lack of effort and aging schemes led to a string of underwhelming seasons in recent years.

Entering 2018, both Texas A&M and Florida State feature first-year head coaches. They also share a common opponent: Clemson. As such, let’s take a look at who figures to be a tougher test for the Tigers this season.

Florida State

New head coach, Willie Taggart, inherits a talent rich roster at Florida State, despite Fisher’s lackluster recruiting efforts on the way out of the door.

The Seminoles are thin in spots, but, overall they feature a strong roster entering 2018. Play-makers such as Cam Akers, Nyqwan Murray and Jacques Patrick figure to have much more productive seasons in Walt Bell’s hyper-speed spread offense.

On the defensive side of the ball, the ‘Noles are brimming with talent such as Marvin Wilson, Joshua Kaindoh and Brian Burns. Sophomore corner back, Stanford Samuels figures to make a huge jump in productivity as well in 2018.

All-in-all I believe the ‘Noles have the talent to compete with Clemson. Their success against the Tigers is contingent upon their ability to stay healthy and pick up new offensive and defensive schemes.

Texas A&M

The Aggies aren’t as talented as Florida State entering 2018, however, former head coach, Kevin Sumlin left the cupboards far from bare. Sumlin’s recruiting success was aided by Texas’ struggles in recent years.

Fisher inherits two of the top young play-makers in the SEC in running back, Trayveon Williams and receiver, Jhamon Ausbon.

Texas A&M returns a young nucleas on defensive including linebackers, Tyrel Dodson and Anthony Hines III and defensive backs, Derrick Tucker and Deboine Renfro. The Aggies also return veteran defensive end, Landis Durham, whom posted 10.5 sacks last season.

Tougher Opponent: Florida State

Fisher’s extensive experience against Clemson is vital to Texas A&M’s success in 2018. That being said, I believe Brent Venables defense will be too much for the Aggies’ offense to handle.

Fisher inherits a shaky quarterback room and his complex pro-style offense doesn’t necessarily fit the skill set of the roster he inherits either. Sumlin’s offense was a wide-open spread, much different from Fisher’s.

Next: Who will replace Dorian O'Daniel in 2018?

Florida State has two experienced quarterbacks and a roster full of newly energized talent. Depending on how they navigate the beginning of their season, the ‘Noles could be riding high entering their week 10 matchup with Clemson.