The college football world will be focused directly on Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Saturday night when No. 1-ranked Clemson starts its journey toward a sixth straight WATCH LIVE FREE ACC title against Wake Forest. In a normal season this would be an ACC Atlantic game as the two face off annually as division foes, but in this unique season with Notre Dame as a full member and all 15 teams grouped together in one division, the contest carries just as much weight as the rest of the 10 conference games scheduled for 2020.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 12 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Field — Winston-Salem, North Carolina
TV: ABC | Live stream: (Try for free)
In a normal season this would be an ACC Atlantic game as the two face off annually as division foes, but in this unique season with Notre Dame as a full member and all 15 teams grouped together in one division, the contest carries just as much weight as the rest of the 10 conference games scheduled for 2020.
Expectations for the Tigers have not lessened one bit as they take the field for the first time since falling to LSU in the national title game in January. Trevor Lawrence, now 25-1 as a starting college quarterback, has not opted out but doubled down on his opt in for the 2020 season, serving as a megaphone for players who wanted to be on the field this fall and for teammates of color who wanted to use their platform as Clemson players to bring attention to racial injustice.
Meanwhile, the Demon Deacons have tons of holes to fill and have not had a ton of time to prepare for facing the No. 1 team in the country. Coach Dave Clawson needs a new starting f the season) and star wide receiver after Sage Surratt opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft. How the team plays with a new leader under center could go a long way in telling how this unusual season goes in Winston-Salem.
So how will the game play out and what are the major storylines to follow? Let’s take a closer look at the matchup and make some picks straight up and against the spread.
Clemson: While Lawrence and two-time ACC Player of the Year Travis Etienne are more than household names at this point, part of the intrigue in watching these first Clemson games will be seeing how the team has reloaded after losing key pieces like its top-two receivers (Tee Higgins to the NFL, Justyn Ross to injury) and its do-everything defensive star Isaiah Simmons.
Even with the turnover from last year’s 14-1 squad, it’s possible this group is even more talented, albeit inexperienced. It should be concerning to not only the ACC but the rest of college football that Clemson has risen to become one of the top programs in the sport with top-15 to top-10 caliber recruiting classes, relying on finding the right fit and great
player development to stand toe-to-toe with talent-rich teams like Alabama and Ohio State. In the last few years, Clemson has moved into that top-five to top-10 level, beating out the blue bloods for recruits and seeing its overall team talent rankings move up. So if Clemson can win two national championships with two national
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