As the season opened I heard the Clemson faithful pulling out the platitudes. "If Clemson wins eight games this year I'll be satisfied" or "good thing the Tigers aren't ranked. They play better when the expectations are low." This perception was not wholly unjustified, as the Tigers went 6-7 last year and lost their quarterback to baseball and their their top defensive players to the NFL.
Head coach Dabo Swinney then decided to shake up his staff by trading out offensive coordinators, leaving Clemson with plenty of question marks. Clemson crawled nebulously out of the gate against Wofford and Troy but quickly began to take shape as certain players emerged as the Tigers of the future.
Clemson is no longer flying stealth mode, and we'll soon find out if the adage about being ranked holds true as they enter their seventh week in the Top 25. With that in mind, here are seven reasons for Clemson's success that nobody could have predicted at the beginning of the season.