In ESPN's desperate attempt to tout an antagonist for their shining white Knight, Saban's Crimson Tide dynasty, they have latched onto Clemson. Georgia has choked every time and tOSU can't stop getting blown out by mid-level B10 teams, even though it is conveniently ignored that our Buckeyes are the only team that is undefeated vs. Alabama in the playoff era.
ESPN would like nothing else than to brainwash CFB fans into believing that the two Kings of their flagship entities, the ACC and SEC networks, are the Larry Bird-Celtics and Magic Johnson-Lakers. The problem is, no matter how many times they say it, Clemson is not on Alabama's level. Most importantly the talent level is not even close. They won one nail-biter, and unlike tOSU it took three attempts. It is odd how only the first two "epic" match-ups are brought up, but not the Bama beat-down last year.
With no Dexter Lawrence, Clemson and their suspect secondary are going to get rolled. If Trevor Lawrence had more seasoning, I might have given the Tigers a chance. Alas, tonight is the close of William Swinney's championship window. I believe it was already closed when Deshaun Watson left for the NFL. The departure of the remaining four members of Dabo's "Fab Five": Christian Wilkins, D. Lawrence, Celin Ferrell and Austin Bryant; surely seals his fate.
Clemson may have replaced their elite-QB, but will be hard-pressed to replace their elite D-line. Clemson is not a CFB blue-blood, and their overall roster talent is not equipped to win on the highest level without a once-in-a-generation combination of QB+DL personnel. That is why I find it laughable when I hear quite often (most recently Sean McDonough on the Sugar Bowl broadcast), Clemson and not Ohio State included along-side Alabama and Georgia on the highest-tier of talent level.
Of course ESPN always relies on their superior "eye-test", however here are the actual facts using 247-composite rankings.
Top-50 Recruits per roster
tOSU - 24 Bama - 20 UGA -19 USC -14 FSU - 12 Clemson - 12
tOSU - 22 UGA -19 Bama - 18 USC -15 FSU - 14 Clemson -12
Bama - 23 FSU - 18 USC - 16 tOSU - 15 UGA - 14 AUB - 8 Clemson - 8