While a late season loss at Georgia Tech ruined any title hopes, 7th ranked Clemson is still in position to grab one of the coveted postseason games where BCS tickets are sold. Fourth-year head coach Dabo Swinney has the Tigers offense humming and the Tigers defense is effective enough to help the team post a 9-1 record to date as they head into the final two weeks of the season. Tucked in between Arkansas and ACC rival Virginia Tech in the rankings, Clemson is looking to claim its 14th conference championship before muscling its way into one of the top postseason bowls.
The Tigers have used a devastating air attack and effective ground game to create one of the more prolific scoring squads in 2011. The 12th rated passing game has been a big part of the team pounding out 480 yards per game, while coming in at 14th in scoring with 37.3 points each game. Clemson has needed those big numbers from its offense since the defense is giving up almost 26 points each contest; nevertheless, the combination has been effective, with the team winning all of its games at Memorial Stadium and suffering its only loss on the road to the Yellow Jackets.
Clemson ends the season on the road, traveling to Raleigh to face North Carolina State before its final-game showdown with its rival, #12 South Carolina. Needing two wins to hold its position in the BCS rankings, the Tigers will have to shore up a defensive unit that has surrendered 128 points in the past four games. Experts are looking at a probable Discover Orange Bowl matchup with Cincinnati; given the Tigers’ big play potential, this could be an excellent chance to win, as the Bearcats have tumbled out of the top 25. Look for the Tigers to play strong through the end of the season and roar into January with a win.