ESPN Pegs Clemson No. 1 Team

Zach Lentz

Clemson continued to make waves in the preseason rankings when ESPN.com named the Tigers as their preseason No. 1 team, according to their FPI rankings.

The reason that the Tigers remain the team to beat, according to ESPN, is the fact that, even after losing 1000-yard receiver Tee Higgins and four members of the offensive line, they still boast a top five offense to go along with the projected No. 1 defense in the nation.

"Clemson fell short in the national championship game, but for the second straight year, the Tigers enter the season as the top team, according to the first Football Power Index rankings of 2020," ESPN wrote. "Clemson returns six starters on each side of the ball, including all four defensive linemen and one of the favorites to win the Heisman in quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

"Clemson has had the most efficient defense in FBS each of the past three seasons and enters 2020 with the top-ranked unit," ESPN continued.

ESPN's FPI is defined as a, "measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team's performance going forward for the rest of the season. FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Projected results are based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule. Ratings and projections update daily."

However, head coach Dabo Swinney does not worry about preseason rankings.

“I mean I guess that means that people think we’ve got a good team coming back, and I guess that means that we were a good team last year, so I guess that’s a pro,” Swinney said. “I guess that beats not being ranked at all because everybody thinks you stink. I guess that’s the pro. The con is it just doesn’t matter. It just is a distraction for people to ask me questions about it because it just doesn’t matter.”

“Unless they bring us a trophy and tear the concrete out over there and put the preseason champs up there, I don’t think we’re going to do that,” Swinney continued. “So it just doesn’t matter. That’s probably the only con is it just creates conversation that’s unnecessary because it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on. All you’ve gotta do is take the last 10 years the preseason polls and a lot of those teams in the top five don’t even finish ranked. A lot of the teams in the top 10 don’t even finish in the top 25. So I just have a perspective of it. And I’ve been on the other side of it when we haven’t been ranked in the top 25 and finished ranked.”

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