Can the Tigers Run the Table?

Gage Arnold@GageArnoldCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2011

CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 24:  Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tiger against the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

One of my favorite memories as a child was bedtime stories. Ten years later, I still enjoy bedtime stories; something about the wholesome stories inspired me and led me to believe that all was well with the world.

In this same accord I love the Cinderella story that can be seen in sports. First though, let’s define a Cinderella.

Cinderella—In sports, specifically the playoffs, a Cinderella is a team that does better than expected. (Ex: A 13-seed team gets into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.)

A Cinderella fully encapsulates why sports, and college ones in particular, are so life changing. They bring happiness, joy, and unpredictability that can capture a city, state and a nation.

Last year, it was the Auburn Tigers. This year, it’s another set of Tigers taking the college football world by storm: the Clemson ones.

This season, the Clemson Tigers are 7-0, ranked No. 7 in the country and are "feelin' it a little bit" if we’re being completely honest. Coach Dabo Swinney has his players hyped and they truly believe they can hang with the big boys.

Looking ahead at the schedule, the team probably played the hardest part as they already defeated Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech, who are all playing very well right now.

Only two ranked teams remain on the Tigers' schedule, one of those being Georgia Tech, which lost this past weekend, and the other just lost its star running back for the season.

Translation: The hardest part is over and essentially the talk of a national title for the Tigers can now be legitimized.

COLLEGE PARK, MD - OCTOBER 15:  Quarterback Tajh Boyd #10 of the Clemson Tigers throws a pass while being pressured by defensive lineman David Mackall #11 of the Maryland Terrapins during the second half at Byrd Stadium on October 15, 2011 in College Park
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Now it’s time for some analysis.

Essentially, I’m going to make you believe that this team is for real. The Tigers are just plain hot right now. The team knows it's good and it's playing like it.

Sammy Watkins has been out of this world for Clemson and has been a threat outside, averaging 16 yards per catch, and Dwayne Allen has stepped up and has made things much easier for Tajh Boyd in his breakout season.

Boyd has a 6:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and has been balling out all season long.

Translation: His consistency at the QB position has stabilized this team, and to be able to win a championship, one must have a fearless leader and Boyd has been that.

Also, check out the Tigers’ biggest games left: Georgia Tech and South Carolina. Both teams have been defeated and have left plans that can be used to defeat them.

Look at Georgia Tech for instance. In its 21-17 loss to Virginia, the Cavaliers held the Jackets to 24 passing yards…and that’s it. The Yellow Jackets are going to get theirs on the ground, but if you can limit that team to one dimension, then you stand a solid chance at defeating them, even if the game is in Atlanta.

South Carolina just lost Marcus Lattimore for the year. This team is now on Connor Shaw’s shoulders and if Clemson brings pressure, its strength in the passing game could fully exploit South Carolina’s weakness in the secondary.

Note that Clemson has a tough test this weekend in North Carolina as well, but it is in Death Valley and after a game where they almost had their pants pulled down by Maryland, the Tigers are going to be ready to prove that it was merely just a bump in the road.

These aren’t your Tigers of old, they’re here to fight.


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