There are still 2 weeks left in the regular season, as well as the Conference Championship Games to play, so there is still very much the possibility that the top 4 will look a little different once December 1st comes to an end. That said, it certainly looks as though Auburn and Clemson are going to be in the mix, which is no real surprise when you consider that they have both been a permanent fixture since the implementation of the playoff system in college football. For the purposes of this piece, we are going to look at why the +400 Clemson Tigers would be a good bet in the playoffs. We have 3 solid reasons why, but we will also have 3 arguments against the Tigers in a separate piece.
3 Reasons to Bet on Clemson in the 2018 Playoffs
Defense win championshipsThe old adage about defense winning championships is now a little cliched, but it is that way for a reason. More often than not, the best defensive teams make deep playoff runs. You would have to argue that the teams in the top 4 right now are all playing solid defensive football, but the Clemson Tigers actually seem to be getting better on that side of the football as the season progresses.
In their 10 wins this season, they have held the opponent to 10 points or less in half of those games. Over the past 5 weeks, they have held the opposition to an average of a little over 8 PPG, which is nothing short of ridiculous. It’s probably no real surprise to learn that Clemson has covered the spread in each of those 5 games.
Playoff ExperienceIf the top 4 was to remain the same as it stands at the moment, you would have a pair of teams going in with a definite advantage. Those teams would be Alabama and Clemson, as they have made getting into the postseason an annual event, and therefore have a ton of guys on their squads who know what it’s like to play in those big College Playoff games.
Again, if the top 4 was to finish as it is now, Clemson would face Notre Dame, a storied program to be sure, but one that hasn’t been anywhere near a playoff game in years. As an independent, they also don’t get to play a Conference Championship Game, so that big game experience is simply not part of their resume. The edge would need to go to Clemson in a match-up like that.
The QB PhenomWhen the Clemson Tigers recruited QB Trevor Lawrence, they were sure that they had a can’t miss prospect on their hands. The season started with Clemson essentially playing a 2 QB system, but it quickly became clear that Lawrence was the man doing most of the heavy lifting.
He was named the starter, causing the previous starter Kelly Bryant to transfer out. You could argue that a first-year starter is not a good bet in the playoffs, but Jake Fromm of the Georgia Bulldogs put that argument to rest last season when he led his team to the National Championship Game as a first-year starter. Lawrence has all the tools to be great and he could help the Tigers go all the way this year.
Favorites to Win the 2019 National Championship
- Alabama -280
- Clemson +400
- Michigan +900
- Notre Dame +1200
- Georgia +1400
- Ohio State +2000
- Oklahoma +2800