By Dalton Ray–
Coleman Little is a senior staff writer for Clemson’s student newspaper, The Tiger News. We were able to talk to him about the top-five match up that will take place in Clemson, South Carolina.
Question: Clemson hasn’t had the most electric start to 2016. Are there any concerns surrounding fans?
Answer: There was a little concern after the Troy game, in which Clemson only scored 13 points through the first three quarters. However, last week, the elite offense that this year’s team was expected to feature showed up and quieted some of the criticism.
Q: What was the problem in weeks one and two?
A: The running game was slow to take shape at the start of the season. Also, I cannot help but feel that the high level of expectations and the immense hype surrounding this team throughout the offseason contributed to the slow start. These are college athletes after all, and coming into the season, the Tigers were as hyped as they have ever been. That assuredly brought a lot of pressure with it.
Q: Is there any fear that Louisville will win the ACC this year over the favorites in Clemson?
A: There is no fear, simply because it is a definite reality that the Cardinals could win the conference championship. Louisville is incredible on both sides of the ball, so Tiger Nation has come to accept that. With Louisville, Florida State and North Carolina all serving as serious threats, it is going to be a challenge to claim the ACC title
Q: What about Dabo Swinney makes him such a fan favorite and players coach?
A: Swinney is definitely teeming with charisma. He is the perfect combination of “old school” and “new school,” and that seems to resonate with his players and fans.
Q: Do you think there’s an offense in the nation that has more explosive capability and play makers than the Tigers?
A: Clemson, in my opinion, boasts the most offensive talent of any team in the country. With a plethora of veteran playmakers with bright NFL futures on the roster, the Tigers are loaded. With a stable of stellar wideouts at Deshaun Watson’s disposal (and, not to mention, the Wayne Train in the backfield), Clemson’s offense is something special.
Q: Whats your score prediction and why?
A: This could very well be the best game on the ACC slate this season. Expect offensive fireworks and a quarterback duel for the ages between Watson and Lamar Jackson. Clemson’s talented defensive line could pose some problems for Jackson, but I predict that he will still have a solid game. In the end, propelled by the rowdy Death Valley crowd, I foresee the Tigers coming away with a 34-31 victory.