Tajh Boyd, Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers are legitimate BCS bowl game contenders.
Improving to 9-1 overall with a victory over the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday, Clemson entered the weekend at No. 13 in the BCS and No. 8 in the coaches' poll. Still, with two weeks remaining the Tigers are positioned to make some serious noise as the regular season winds down.
BCS parity is beginning to unfold inside the top 10 and Clemson will benefit as a result. Here, we look at what Swinney's team has done thus far and how the path ahead provides a BCS opportunity.
Boyd and Clemson's offense can match pace with anyone in the country. For one, the Tigers average nearly 43 points per game along with 522 total yards and have scored above that average five times in 2012.
Simply put: Impressive.
As for Boyd, the signal-caller has thrown 28 touchdowns to only nine picks with a 68.2 completion percentage. And it's not like Boyd is just dumping the rock off on screens and checkdowns each week either.
He's racked up 2,941 passing yards with an average of 14 yards per completion. In addition, the guy has spread the field to where seven different players have 10-plus receptions and at least one touchdown.
Factor in Boyd's ground game of 363 yards rushing and five scores and he's a big part of Clemson's multi-dimensional attack. Running backs Andre Ellington and Roderick McDowell have accounted for a combined 1,129 yards and 13 scores on the ground.
The Tigers are virtually unstoppable and they make for one exciting BCS opponent.
One Loss, Not a Bad Loss
Clemson has one loss this season courtesy of the Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee. On the bright side, falling to the 9-1 'Noles on the road is at least a worthy defeat.
The Tigers have otherwise won when expected, even though their regular-season schedule hasn't been all that challenging. The early victory over Auburn is no longer impressive because Gene Chizik's Tigers are 2-8 for the season.
As unreal as it may sound, the Duke Blue Devils are Clemson's best win so far on the year. Duke currently possesses a 6-4 record, which is tied for third-best throughout the entire ACC. The downside is the ACC not being a strong conference from top to bottom either, with only the Seminoles and Tigers having more than six wins.
Fortunately, not all hope is lost for Clemson. With two solid games remaining, one of which is actually quite enormous, Dabo Swinney's Tigers can't be counted out just yet.
What percentage odds does Clemson have in receiving a BCS bid?
Potential of What Lies Ahead
Next up are the North Carolina State Wolfpack, who are 6-4 and the upset masters of college football (they handed Florida State their only loss in early October).
The Wolfpack have also endured an intriguing season, losing to both the Tennessee Volunteers and the Miami Hurricanes, two schools without a winning record. Still, defeating the 'Noles makes N.C. State a tougher opponent than most give credit for.
Not to mention Tom O'Brien's team will likely finish as Clemson's third-best opponent this season. The final game, however, is the money ball—the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Steve Spurrier's team entered this week at No. 8 in the BCS and it's expected that South Carolina keeps moving up with wins. This makes for a rivalry showdown between two potential top 10 BCS schools in late November.
Provided that Clemson closes the regular season out at 11-1, a No. 8 or higher final BCS ranking is realistic. And with no non-automatic qualifiers threatening this year, Clemson deserves that coveted BCS bid.
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