Clemson football has enjoyed their stay at the top of the hill in college football. They don’t want it to end now, as they compete against the North Carolina Tarheels for the right to go 13-0 and remain number 1 in the country. North Carolina is a formidable opponent who have lost only one game this season. If the Heels win this game I know how much of a big deal the media will make it out to be a huge upset. A 4.5 dog winning is not a huge upset. It’s the same thing during March Madness. A team that is a small underdog and lower seed will get anointed for pulling off some huge upset, but in Vegas and for the odds makers it looks differently. North Carolina in fact would be of the mini-upset variety. The Tar Heels do have that us against the world mentality coming into this game, though. How many times have you heard North Carolina mentioned among the best teams in college football? It is rare you hear of them on television or the radio. Winning the ACC Championship and a potential birth in the college football playoff would put them on the map and get people talking.
Clemson is a worthy opponent and are 12-0 for a reason, so North Carolina is some work in front of them. The Tigers are coming off a tight competitive battle against South Carolina with them coming out victorious 37-32. In a power conference being undefeated style points don’t account for anything at this point. Win by 1 or 30, Clemson is in. It’ll get difficult for Clemson in the college football playoff, if they win today. The biggest win for Clemson has to be an early October victory over Notre Dame, 24-22. They also shredded Miami 58-0 in what was an impressive win for the Tigers. North Carolina also took Miami to school for a 59-21 final score.
Without the fanfare surrounding North Carolina, I don’t think people are giving the Heels a fair opportunity in this game. However, the odds makers obviously think this isn’t going to be a route in favor of Clemson. I was expecting a touchdown spread for the Tigers myself. I provide my additional comments and pick for this game below.
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Clemson Tigers Betting Odds:
North Carolina +4.5(-105)
vs. Clemson -4.5(-115)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
North Carolina vs. Clemson Pick:
North Carolina is led at quarterback by the dual-threat signal caller Marquise Williams. Williams is plenty experienced, he comes in tonight as a fifth year senior, but playing in his first ACC Championship. There hasn’t been a bigger game for him. Williams has three years experience as the starter, producing solid results in all of them. This season Williams has been good with 18 touchdowns and 8 interceptions through the air. He can also do it with his legs, as Williams has rushed for 10 touchdowns and 786 yards rushing. Look for him to pull the ball back and look to gain yardage with his legs often. He also has a touchdown reception the past three years, so I would not be surprised if North Carolina trys to pull some razzle dazzle with Williams. It’s there in the playbook and they might need a big play or two like that to get Clemson a little rattled.
The Tar Heels are 16th in college football offensively. They are scoring at a rate of 41.3 points per game. Clemson counters with Deshaun Watson at quarterback, another dynamic player who fits the same mold as Williams does. I see Williams as a lesser version of Watson. Watson can run and throw, he’s passed for 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while rushing for 756 yards and 9 touchdowns. Clemson is notching 38 points per game. North Carolina is beaten just one ranked team this season, which came against Pitt. Two of their wins also came against FCS teams. Look for the calls to go the way of Clemson. The ACC is going to want a team to be in the college football playoff. Clemson with a win here would do that. Tigers take it by 10 or 7.
PICK: CLEMSON -4.5 (-110)