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This Week In Optimism: Clemson Edition

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

There's good news about next week's opponent. Well, no, that's a lie, mostly. Clemson has an outstanding team, but is it a top-5 or even a top-10 team? That's hard to judge, even after the Tigers' victory over Georgia in Week 1. The computers weren't sold on Clemson before the year started, and they aren't quite on board now either.

FEI Rank
S&P+ Rank
Sagarin Rank
NC State 62 62 54
Clemson 12 32 17

(Sample size caveats apply, of course.)

This is not to say definitively that Clemson isn't an elite team. Could well be. But it's also worth remembering that this team had defensive issues last season, and those problems haven't been solved. Georgia out-gained Clemson by about 80 yards and averaged 7.8 yards per snap, which points to some obvious vulnerability. That weakness doesn't necessarily trump Tajh Boyd, but it could.

Granted, Pete Thomas is going to have to be outstanding and take advantage of just about every mistake the Tigers' back seven makes. That's not anything we can count on, but State will have its chances to strike big. We won't get to 48 this year, but we might still keep pace on the scoreboard with Clemson into the late stages. By that point, randomness can be as significant a factor as anything else. As the underdog, NC State would be fine with that.

NC State has to be near-flawless, and you know what, that's going to happen because in the universe this post inhabits, that's what happens. There can be no doom, only smiley faces and amusing gifs.