When the initial College Football Playoff rankings came out earlier this month, many were left scratching their heads at Clemson’s inclusion in the top four. Just two weeks later, the doubters have been proven right.
Just take a look at the last three weeks for the Tigers, who enter their ACC clash Saturday with Louisville as touchdown favorites. Clemson escaped Tallahassee with a narrow win over Florida State, then rallied late to beat Syracuse, with backup quarterback Cade Klubnik saving the day in the fourth quarter.
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Clemson vs. Louisville prediction: Louisville +7
That underscores a key issue for the Tigers: Starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei just hasn’t been very good. The former five-star prospect and Heisman Trophy hopeful had three turnovers in that win over Syracuse, and he managed just 191 passing yards with one touchdown and a pick last week in an embarrassing 35-14 loss to Notre Dame.
It’s hard to look past that beatdown when sizing up the matchup with Louisville, which has four consecutive wins by at least 14 points after an inconsistent start to the season. Dynamic QB Malik Cunningham has been at the forefront, tallying a combined seven touchdowns with just one interception in that stretch.
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Clemson’s offense has already looked anemic with Uiagalelei at the helm, converting just nine of 26 third-down attempts (34.6 percent) over its last two games. Now it’ll have to contend with the loss of receiver Beaux Collins, another blow to this already shaky receiving corps. There’s too much working against the home favorites in this one to lay such a big number.
Clemson vs. Louisville pick: Louisville +7
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