CLEMSON - In one of the boldest national championship predictions college football fans are likely to see this summer, Pete Roussel of CoachingSearch.com has Clemson claiming the first College Football Playoff crown.
That's right. Clemson. No Tajh Boyd, no Sammy Watkins, no problem.
Roussel predicts, "I believe the Clemson Tigers will defeat Auburn on January 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington to claim its first national championship since 1981."
He also has Florida State and UCLA joining the pair of Tiger teams in the four-team playoff.
While it's not clear how he sets up the semifinal matchups, Roussel ranks Clemson No. 1 and FSU No. 4, indicating he foresees Clemson knocking off the defending national champion Seminoles on Sept. 20 in Tallahassee and again on New Year's Day in the national semifinal.
Here's a snippet of Roussel's reasoning:
"I watched Clemson in person during their spring game weekend and believe the Tigers have the personnel on the defensive front to beat Georgia, Florida State, and South Carolina. It's an ultra-talented group capable of playing stout run-defense and consistently affecting the quarterback . Although Cole Stoudt will be a first-year starter, he is set to enter his fourth year in Chad Morris' scheme and has accumulated valuable game experience along the way. In addition, Clemson is solid up front and has bevy of talent on the perimeter."
Currently, Clemson is fielding 65-1 odds to win the national championship in Las Vegas casinos. So it's no surprise Roussel's prediction, tweeted out to his 41,000 followers, sparked quite the skepticism on Twitter.
Roussel concluded his post with, "This Clemson pick isn't to be different. WARNING: Do not sleep on the Tigers." He wrote that to kick off 2013, he picked Baylor over Alabama, even though Baylor was unranked in the preseason. Baylor actually reached the No. 3 ranking entering a Nov. 23 game at Oklahoma State, which the Bears lost, and Baylor ended up losing to UCF in the Fiesta Bowl.
By the way, Roussel released the rest of his 2014 top ten: starting with No. 5 Oregon, followed by Michigan State, Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Georgia. He left South Carolina out of his preseason top ten.