2021 Season – Clemson Tigers

Pitt is coming off another dominating win over a Coastal division opponent – the Virginia Tech Hokies. Pitt is now in sole possession of first place in the Coastal division ( 5 – 1, 2 – 0  ACC).

The Clemson ( pronounced Clempsum, be sure to accent the “P”) Tigers. The scourge of the ACC since 2015 has shown signs of vulnerability. Their record going into the game is ( 4 – 2, 3 – 1 ACC).

The ACC standings and year to date (YTD) schedules:

Just one common opponent – Georgia Tech. Clemson squeaked by while Pitt conquered.

If you took the time to study the above charts, what did you see?

In the ranking chart, only seven ACC teams have completed their Out of Conference (OOC) schedule. Wake has at Army this weekend and at North Carolina (yes this is a OOC matchup. Clemson has UConn and their SEC rivalry game. Florida State plays UMass this weekend and their rivalry game. Louisville plays their rivalry game. Virginia has at BYU and Notre Dame (ND). North Carolina still has to play Wake, at ND and FCS Wofford. Georgia Tech has the season ending rivalry game.

For those who are still doubting Pitt stats due to playing UMass and New Hampshire, the YTD stats of Clemson is impacted by their 49  – 3 victory over South Carolina State.  Do the math. Clemson’s scoring, without their FCS opponent is only 74 – 72. With UConn yet to play, do you expect their stats will not be impacted? (BTW, UConn lost to UMass 13 – 27).

Here are the NCAA stats for team and individual comparison. Those highlighted in yellow are Tiger advantages.

Clemson’s strength is their defense but I see one hole in the defensive stat categories. Pitt’s offense is better in all offensive categories. Special teams stats go slightly to Clemson.

On to the individual stats. Of course, starting with the QB’s:

D.J. Uiagalelei (DJU) was a preseason Heisman contender. Kenny Pickett is currently a long shot Heisman contender. That’s the QB comparison. DJU has a great arm, size and speed but so does Joe Milton at Tennessee. Both have all the attributes that a college football head coach wants but both need further development. Hopefully, DJU does not find whatever he lacks this Saturday.

Before I start on individual stats, I found this in an article early in the week Clemson played Georgia Tech(GT). It is a list of Clemson players who are out for the season or suffered an injury prior to GT. I have also added the three players that Clemson lost to the transfer portal since the season started. You will see I colored coded them.

Did you notice the dates on the last two Transfer Portal entries?

What about the running backs and receivers?

A comparison of Clemson and Pitt players using ESPN stats and compared to NCAA totals.

Clemson misses QB Trevor Lawrence and RB Travis Etienne.

Some defensive individual stats. From ESPN team stats and compared to NCAA statistics for accuracy.

I again used the top 15 in tackles for both teams. In total, Pitt has 37 and Clemson 41 players who made at least one tackle (solo or assisted)/sack/pass defended (PD)/interception/forced fumble(FF)/ fumble recovered(FR).

I did add some stats to compare the “chosen fifteen” to Team totals.

As usual, I do not have any stats for offensive line play. But I do have sacks and tackles for loss (TFL) allowed.

As to turnovers here is a comparison:

The Clemson faithful are not mad at head coach Dabo Swinney. They are furious with the offensive coordinator, the QB coach, the running back coach, the tight end coach, the Oline coach, the offense graduate assistants, the recruiting analysis for offense  and whoever else has any control over this year’s Tigers offensive production.

The faithful are not happy with Dabo’s stance on using the TP to fill perceived holes in the roster. He does not use the TP. Clemson only had 18 recruits in 2021, so he would have space under the NCAA limit of 25 recruits per year. Clemson currently has 82 roster scholarships but that includes at least 6 walk-ons.

With all that being said Pitt wins 31 – 17.  A potent offense overcomes potential.