As we countdown to kickoff in August, we’re going to be doing a team-by-team preview each Tuesday over the summer. SU will continue its 2014 ACC conference schedule when they play Wake Forest on Oct. 25.
RELOADING, NOT REBUILDING: Clemson looks like a completely different team on offense this year. In one season, Clemson lost its quarterback (Tajh Boyd), two elite receivers (Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant) and their leading rusher (Rod McDowell). It didn’t help that one of the possible heirs to Boyd’s position, Chad Kelly, had an acrimonious departure from the team following “conduct detrimental to the program” at the team’s spring game. Still, the Tigers seemed poised to continue their recent success. Senior quarterback Cole Stoudt has slide into the starting role, while sophomore receiver Mike Williams has drawn high praise in spring practices. Dabo Swinney is also counting on backs Zac Brooks and D.J. Howard to soften the departure of McDowell.
WHO TO WATCH FOR: Defensive coordinator Brent Venables has a talented group on the defensive side of the ball, headlined by end Vic Beasley. The senior surprised some by not leaving early after he recorded 13 sacks and was named an All-American. Fellow senior Stephone Anthony headlines a deep linebacker core. Anthony led the Tigers in tackles (131) last season, and also recorded 13.5 tackles for a loss.
PREDICTION: Clemson could easily find itself with double-digit wins at the end of the season. Clemson opens at Georgia and finishes by hosting South Carolina, but with the exception of an ACC contest at Florida State, the Tigers have a mostly favorable schedule. SYRACUSE 21, CLEMSON 42.