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When the idea of a college football playoff was introduced, there were a lot of traditionalists who were not on board with the idea. It’s fair to say that the feeling has changed, with many now calling for the playoffs to be expanded. That decision is still somewhere in the future, so for now, we need to focus on this year’s version of the playoffs. There are some familiar faces in there, with the Clemson Tigers now making their 4th straight postseason appearance. They will be in the Cotton Bowl on December 29 to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, so let’s take a closer look at their keys to victory.

A History of Playoff Success

We have already mentioned that the Clemson Tigers have been in the playoffs in the 3 previous seasons, but what we have not mentioned is that they went to the National Championship Game twice and won it once. They have only once gone out at the semi-final stage, which was last year when they fell to the eventual champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide. The reality is that this is a much better team than Clemson had last season, and while there were a couple of near misses along the way, they went into overdrive in the final few weeks of the regular season, blasting aside everyone in their path. This team knows how to win when the going gets tough and the games get bigger, which is why they are in as an 11-point favorite for the Cotton Bowl.

College Football: Clemson Tigers Review to Win Cotton Bowl Clemson-Tigers_Hunter-RenfrowCollege Football: Clemson Tigers Review to Win Cotton Bowl Clemson-Tigers_Hunter-Renfrow

Balance on Both Sides of the Football

There are some teams that win by blowing their opponent out of the water, while other stifle you by playing great defense. The Clemson Tigers are good enough to beat teams either way. The Tigers looked outstanding on the offensive side of the football, with first-year starting QB Trevor Lawrence helping lead his team to over 45 PPG. It is the defense, though, that sometimes gets overlooked in all the hype surrounding Lawrence. This is a unit that has held the opposition to less than 14 PPG, holding teams to 10 points or less in 4 of their last 6 games. Games very often turn on a big offensive play or a big defensive stop, and the Clemson Tigers have the ability to hit you with both.

College Football: Clemson Tigers Review to Win Cotton Bowl Clemson-Tigers_Trevor-Lawrence

Clemson Matches Up Well with Notre Dame

The Irish have achieved success this season by being very balanced in their attacking game, but they may be forced to become a little one-dimensional in the Cotton Bowl. Notre Dame averaged over 190 YPG on the ground this season, but are they going to have any success versus a run defense that allowed just 93 YPG on the ground? If you are forced into passing all the time against a good defense, you are essentially put into a position where turnovers become the order of the day.
Make no mistake about it, these are two very good teams, but there is one that had a definite edge in all categories, and that is the Clemson Tigers. They look set to have another run at Alabama in the National Championship Game, but we will be looking at the other teams involved to see how that might not happen.

College Football: Clemson Tigers Review to Win Cotton Bowl Clemson-Tigers_Christian-Wilkins

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