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Clemson’s 2020 CFP Title Odds Unchanged after Quiet NSD

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney on the sideline.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney only landed the 10th-ranked recruiting class in 2019, but don't let that fool you about the strength of the 2019 Tigers. Photo by LambeauLeap80 [CC License] .
  • The Clemson Tigers are still listed as favorites to win the 2020 college football National Championship
  • The Tigers’ recruiting class finished ranked 10th in the nation, well behind no. 1 Alabama
  • Clemson are expected to be heavy favorites in all 12 games on their regular-season schedule

National Signing Day came and went for the Clemson Tigers without a splash.  They added two more players to the 2019 class in 3-star running back Michel Dukes and 2-star offensive lineman Mason Trotter.

The lack of action wasn’t a surprise after landing 27 commitments in the Early Signing Period in December, but the quiet afternoon has led to an interesting question:  did any of the other top candidates bridge the gap?

2020 College Football National Championship Odds

Team Odds at Bovada (Feb. 8)
Clemson +165
Alabama +230
Georgia +800
Ohio State +800
Michigan +1500
Penn State +1600
Texas +1800
Florida +2500
LSU +3000
Notre Dame +3000

Clemson Still Clear Favorite Next Season

The odds still have Clemson listed as the favorite over Alabama before a large drop off in the odds to Georgia and Ohio State.

There’s wisdom to be taken from the fact these odds have changed.  Recruiting classes are to be treated more like the MLB draft, where you assume the players you land are a year or two away from contributing.

There are rare cases where freshman come in and dominate, but no players of that ilk were still on the board on National Signing Day; they all signed during the early signing period.

Clemson returns several players from their National Championship-winning team, most importantly Heisman-contending QB Trevor Lawrence.

The lone fact he is returning makes Clemson a favorite to repeat in 2019.

Clemson Recruiting Class Ranked 10th

The 10th-ranked recruiting class seems low for a team that just finished the season #1, but context is important here.  The Tigers finished with the best class in the ACC yet again, so among their immediate competition, they actually widened the gap.

Down the road could finishing behind Alabama, Georgia, LSU and others this year hurt in the College Football Playoff? It could. But this isn’t rare territory for Dabo Swinney to be in.  His classes the last four years finished ranked 4th (2015), 8th (2016), 10th (2017), and 5th (2018).

This position is right where the program expected to be, and Swinney has proven that, with this level of talent, he has more than enough to compete for and win National Championships.

Tigers Schedule Creates Easy Path to CFP

Clemson projects to be favored, likely by double digits, in every single game on their schedule next year. They have by far the easiest path back to the College Football Playoff with their toughest games being a home date against Texas A&M and a road game at pesky Syracuse.

A ticket to the dance doesn’t guarantee anything, but it gives you a chance, and that’s all Clemson needs.  If they get in, would you want your money against Lawrence and the Tiger offense?

The earlier you get on the Clemson hype train, the better off you’ll be.  The price at Bovada still looks good and will only get closer and closer to even odds as the wins rack up next season.

Don’t be scared off by a good-but-not-great recruiting class.  Worry about that down the road, and stick with Dabo Swinney and the Tigers next year.

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Ryan Bolta has been at TSN for 10 years working in a variety of roles. He’s been a lead content producer for Sportscentre, That’s Hockey 2Nite and That’s Hockey, and has also spent time on-air with TSN1050. Ryan also launched and hosted TSN’s first NCAAF podcast, The College Football Show.