December 3, 2016

Clemson vs. Alabama, tOSU & Washington

generic-wpHow would Clemson fare against the other playoff contenders?

I have developed an algorithm to predict the outcomes of college football games. You can find more on my methodology here and find this weeks picks here.


It turns out that Clemson’s beat down of South Carolina didn’t enhance the Tigers profile as much as expected in that the Gamecocks were weaker competition (ranked 57th) than either Auburn (19) or Washington State (36).

Probabilities above are through games of week 13 and will be updated weekly.

Nic’s Picks – Championship Week

Nic's Picks

Week 13 – (6-4)

Overall – (71-36)

Deshaun by Distance – 12 Games

Photo: Gwinn Davis/

Photo: Gwinn Davis/

Deshaun Watson by Distance through 12 games.

DW4 by Distance 2016 12

Clemson – Virginia Tech ACC Championship Win Probabilities


The Tigers and Hokies meet Saturday night in Orlando for the ACC Championship with a playoff spot on the line for Clemson.

Depth Stars: Clemson vs. Virginia Tech

A look at how recruiting rankings reflect in the starting lineups (Source Photo: Steve Mitchell/USA Today)

A look at how recruiting rankings reflect in the starting lineups (Source Photo: Steve Mitchell/USA Today)


In this segment we’ll take a look at the former recruiting rankings for both teams’ starting lineups. With only the starters listed, this is by no means a comprehensive comparison of overall team talent. Instead, this allows you to simply take a peak into how recruiting rankings represent the key contributors on the field. In this series we’ll be basing the “star” ratings on the 247 Composite rankings, which factors in evaluations from various recruiting services.





**As always you can head over to the free SUR message boards to discuss this and much more with one of the tightest online Tiger communities on the web.**

Weekly SUR Pickem – Conference Championship Week

Weekly SUR Pick'em

Matt and Chris battle it out for the title, while I hope to achieve some sense of respectability.

Film Preview: Virginia Tech

After consecutive blowout wins over Wake Forest and South Carolina, Clemson gets their hands on a much more formidable foe in Virginia Tech. New HC Justin Fuente has his team at 9-3, hungry to end Clemson’s playoff chances and hoping that a cocky Tigers team rolls into Orlando.

Offensively, the Hokies are led by RS JR(Juco product) Jerod Evans, a “thick” dual-threat QB. Dabo Swinney likens him to Tajh Boyd, especially in his ability to run with power and push forward for extra yardage. It’ll take extra effort from Clemson’s defense to bring him down, potentially similar to how they struggled with Jacoby Brissett last season. Virginia Tech’s offensive scheme is more of a spread offense now with Fuente. They’ll run plenty of window dressing, jets sweeps, etc., to try and take advantage of an over-pursuing Clemson defense.

An example of Evans running read option:


And Evans using his legs when there’s nothing downfield.


Evans has two of the better receiving threats that Clemson has seen all season in Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges. Hodges, a 6’7″ physical specimen, will be a difficult cover on jump balls. Below his ability on the fade:


And another example. It’ll be interesting to see how the secondary handles Hodges in these situations. There’s been a tendency to be overly aggressive and not getting heads turned around on 50-50 balls, resulting in penalties being thrown.


You’ll see the “window dressing” of the fake jet sweep in this play, prior to tossing it up to Hodges again.


Isaiah Ford, although not as big, is another tall task. Good route-runner and body control.


As you can see, VT’s WR’s had quite the day in 1-on-1 matchups against Pittsburgh. Clemson’s corners are more talented, but they still present a stiff test.


More jet sweep play action, then a perfectly placed ball to Ford.


The other side of the ball is another typical, but respected, Bud Foster defense. Commonly known to play heavy man coverage, which is very difficult to do against Clemson’s array of receiving threats. Not only this, but playing man tends to provide more opportunities for a QB to scramble once defenders heads are turned. It’ll be interesting to see if Foster works on more zone to present against Clemson this Saturday.

Here, ND runs trips to the right and the slot man to run underneath and pull #19 out of the area. 1-on-1 opportunity behind that Kizer takes advantage of.


Syracuse gets them in the seam as well in this clip. Another 1-on-1 matchup that turns into a big play. Check out how far the safety, #19, comes up in this play, leaving a vacant field behind him.


Duke was able to find success in getting their TE open, often covered by a VT LB. Far too easy as long as the blitz is picked up.


Here, they’ll use PA to pull in the LB and open up space for the TE. Huge missed opportunity for Duke, but this is a play that Clemson likes to use with Leggett quite often.


Perhaps the biggest “glaring” issue in the VT defense is their inability to defend the QB in the run game. Lets take a peek at QB rush totals in the Hokies’ 3 losses this season:

Josh Dobbs, Tenn: 14/106/2 TD’s

Eric Dungey, Syr: 24/106/1 TD

Matt Jordan, GT: 32/121/2 TD

In addition, Duke’s Daniel Jones put up a 18/99/2TD line and ND’s Deshone Kizer had 16/69 in close losses.

Deshaun Watson? TBD.


Here’s Dobbs on a read option play.


And Duke’s Jones.


Some success from Kizer.


Watch DE #99 here, who bites hard towards the RB and allows Kizer to have a running lane.


ND runs the read option to #99’s side once again, but this time he hesitates and jumps towards Kizer. Kizer gives this time and the RB is off to the races.

Vegas Confidential – Stuck in neutral & thats a good place Edition

Vegas Confidential

Clemson Receiver Metrics – 12 Games

imageComplete through 12 games.  Includes interceptions where target was identifiable.receiver-mets-2016-12


Featured image courtesy

Clemson vs. Virginia Tech Preview & Prediction

VT Preview


For the second consecutive year Clemson finds themselves playing in primetime for an ACC Title. The last time these two teams met with the ACC Championship trophy on the line Clemson prevailed in blowout fashion. Justin Fuente and his Hokies would love nothing more than to exact revenge and spoil the Tigers playoff hopes. Catch up on everything you need to know before Saturday’s 8pm kick in this week’s preview below…