Clemson football is the early preseason favorite in 2020 to win the ACC and get back to the College Football Playoff for a sixth straight year. Who among the teams on the 2020 schedule is most likely to knock the Tigers out of playoff contention?
There is no doubt that Clemson and Alabama are the two most talented teams in college football entering the season. Both had third-year players come back instead of chasing NFL dreams, which means big things for both programs.
As we know, anything can happen on a Saturday afternoon once the ball kicks off. As good as Clemson football will be in 2020, if they get caught looking ahead for any reason, they can be beaten as we have seen happen to many great teams along the way.
Looking at the Clemson football schedule, there are a couple of teams that could thwart Clemson from getting back to their fifth title game in the sixth year.
With Ian Book returning for a third year as the Irish starting quarterback, he will have all the confidence he needs to lead Notre Dame onto the field against Clemson in November. If anyone has an offensive line that is able to handle the Clemson front four, it will be Notre Dames; the top five offensive tackle in the 2021 NFL draft, Liam Eichenberg will lead the Irish offensive line and they will be well prepared. All five starters for Notre Dame upfront return from 2019.
Notre Dame’s defense was a top 15 unit in 2019 and will be the same in 2020. Clark Lea will start his third campaign as Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator and will try to throw everything LSU did at Trevor Lawrence in order to stymie the Clemson offense.
People around Clemson laugh when anyone mentions NC State as a potential spoiler, but injuries decimated the Wolfpack in 2019 and that allowed them to build depth at nearly every position on the football field.
If head coach Dave Doeren and offensive coordinator Tim Beck can decide on a quarterback this offseason, they will have all the pieces to upset some folks in the ACC. If they can handle Mississippi State in the season opener and build momentum, they will be a team to make some noise.
NC State is nowhere near talented enough to beat Clemson if the Tigers show up and play their game, but they are good enough to win a sloppy game in which Clemson is not focused.
ACC Championship game
Clemson football has dominated the ACC Championship game the last three years beating Miami, Pittsburgh, and Virginia by an average of 37 points per game, but the coastal should be a little bit better this year. UNC and Virginia Tech were a year ahead of schedule last years and if they are able to build off of 2019, Clemson will get all they can handle, as they did from UNC and Virginia Tech in 2015 & 2016 in the ACC Championship game.