With three full weeks of the 2021 college football season in the books, the national landscape is starting to take shape. The cream of the crop has started to rise to the top, while some of the preseason favorites have already taken a step in the wrong direction.
Among the teams that have underwhelmed through the first quarter of the regular season is Clemson. Dabo Swinney’s Tigers narrowly scraped out a messy win over Georgia Tech on Saturday to improve to 2-1, but have shown glaring problems on offense through their first three games.
Apart from an expected domination of South Carolina Upstate, Clemson scored just 17 points in its other two games. That lack of offense has many concerned, including college football analyst Paul Finebaum.
In his weekly Sunday appearance on SportsCenter, the ESPN host called Clemson the most disappointing of the 2021 season so far.
“It’s almost a tie between Ohio State, Oklahoma and Clemson, but I’m going with Clemson for this reason. Their defense is fantastic. It’s not giving up anything. But the offense — well, let me correct myself. What offense?! They have no offense. We were told DJ (Uiagalelei) was going to fill right in where Trevor left off. He hasn’t been able to do that because there are so many problems on the offensive front,” Finebaum said, per Saturday Down South. “I mean, they weren’t playing Georgia yesterday; they were playing Georgia Tech, which lost to (Northern) Illinois a couple weeks ago. That was simply an inexcusable performance all around.”
Finebaum is right to call the Clemson defense fantastic. The Tigers haven’t given up a touchdown on defense yet this season. However, if the program’s offense remains this poor, it’s hard to see the ACC powerhouse competing for a National Championship come January.
Clemson has plenty of time to make adjustments and should be given the opportunity with a weaker ACC slate. The Tigers will return to action next Saturday against NC State.