There was a point in time in this season when we thought it was just a blip on the radar for Clemson. They’d snap out of it, we thought… they’re Clemson!
Except they didn’t.
One of the best defenses in the country has been unable to overcome a sluggish offense to get the Tigers where they want to go this season, and they are unlikely to even make it to the ACC Championship Game.
But this week, they venture out of conference play to face UConn.
Dabo Swinney knows the stakes.
Now, whether Clemson will win this game is not very much in doubt, but will they cover a gargantuan 41-point spread? Well, that is another matter entirely.
It is a long-held practice of Dabo Swinney to play everyone in blowouts, and I mean everyone:
A look at Clemson’s box score shows that the Tigers played 84 (eighty four) players on either offense, defense, or special teams. That’s almost all of the 95 total players listed on the roster. Only 85 are even allowed to be on scholarship. Just for comparison, from the same day: Alabama listed 44 players as having seen the field in its similar blowout win over Tennessee, and Oklahoma listed 49 during an easy win over TCU. The Tigers played more than that in just the first quarter, so it wasn’t like their depth guys only played in garbage time in this key division game:
Why? Well, theories include that coach Swinney’s own history as a walk-on makes him more sympathetic towards those players despite that he has a roster chock-full of blue chip talents. There’s also the fact that it’s a heavy carrot to get players to stay in the program and buy in, creating more locker room cohesion and the “family” atmosphere the program is famous for creating. No matter the reason, the key aspect is it means that there may be backups and walk-ons in this game for a large duration of it, aka a little bit more of an even playing field for UConn to face.
The Huskies are objectively one of the worst teams in FBS. If you find a power ranking that has them higher than 120th, you should find a new one.
But UConn is not off of just one BYE week, but two, having stacked their BYEs on top of each other. A Week 0 tilt gave them an extra open date.
There should have been plenty of self-scouting done in the building and maybe a trick play or two can get the Huskies to lose this game by a semi repeatable amount.
Clemson may need to prove a point, but so do the men from Storrs playing for pride with all the odds -- literally -- stacked against them.
Moneyline pick: Clemson -100000
That’s not a typo. Those are the odds.
Spread pick: UConn +41
I believe in the Huskies! The fighting Jim Moras can get it done!
Over/under pick: Over 51
This is basically a test of whether UConn can score 10ish points.
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