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Odds and Ends: Math Very Much in Clemson's Favor in 2021

According to some, there isn't another team in the country in a better position mathematically to win their conference and likely make the College Football Playoff than Clemson.

You don't need to be a stats and probability guru to know Clemson has the best chance of any team in college football to win their division. 

The ACC Atlantic hasn't produced a team able to keep the Tigers from playing in the ACC Championship Game since 2014. So it's no surprise that ESPN's Football Power Index gives Clemson an 89.1 percent chance to win their seventh consecutive crown. 

Dabo Swinney's squad has a 72-percent shot at winning the ACC, which it has also done each of the last six years. 

The bigger question is will Clemson lose a conference game this year? FPI projects the Tigers to win 11.5 games in 2021 with 1.4 losses. The Tigers also have a win-out percentage of 21, the highest in the nation and four percentage points more than Alabama. 

Oddsmakers concur. FanDuel Sportsbook lists Clemson's regular-season win total at 11.5 games and a -900 favorite to win the conference (-2400 to win the Atlantic). So the odds aren't in anybody's favor, that's for sure. 

Clemson does play Georgia in the out-of-conference season opener Sept. 4. The Tigers are a 3-point favorite in Charlotte, so FPI and the oddsmakers are factoring in a potential loss there. 

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Despite playing against FCS competition, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said he saw what he was looking for when it comes to improvements in the running in the Tigers 49-3 win over S.C. State.

That's by far the best team Clemson will play, according to FPI. It has the Bulldogs ranked No. 7. The next team on the Tigers' schedule is N.C. State at No. 33. It only goes down from there. 

Don't forget to factor in how big a favorite the Tigers are over the opponents already listed for this summer. FanDuel has Clemson favored by 17.5 points at Pittsburgh, 27 points vs. Florida State and 21.5 at Louisville. The win probability for Clemson is about as close to 100% as you can get.  

Just think what it's going to be against Georgia Tech, Connecticut, South Carolina and others.

Do flukes happen? Of course. We wouldn't watch sports if they didn't. There are plenty of variables over the course of a single game or season that can change these odds and probabilities. 

And if the Tigers meet North Carolina or Miami, two teams with the highest projected wins among teams Clemson could face this year, in the ACC title game, the odds of winning certainly come down some.

But heading into the 2021 season, it's clear there isn't another team in the country in a better position mathematically to win their conference and likely make the College Football Playoff than Clemson.