College Football

Who Can Challenge Clemson?

September 3

On this week's edition of Big Noon Kickoff, Urban Meyer and the crew discuss the top 5 teams in the ACC with the college football season just weeks away.

In recent years, the ACC has been dominated by the Clemson Tigers. The defending ACC champs have lost only three conference games since the start of the 2015 season.

Not to mention, the Tigers start off the 2020 season as the No. 1 team in all of college football.

So let's take a look at how the Big Noon Kickoff crew broke down the ACC on Wednesday:

Clemson Tigers

Clemson has been the most consistent program in the country over the past five years, reaching the College Football Playoff all five years, including four national title game berths and a pair of national championships.

Trevor Lawrence returns for his junior campaign, after throwing 22 touchdowns and no interceptions in the final eight games of last season.

In his collegiate career, Lawrence has only suffered one loss, which came in the national championship game at the hands of LSU this past season.

Clemson's 43.9 points per game ranked 4th in the FBS in 2019, while the Tigers' defense only allowed 13.5 points per game, good for 3rd in the FBS.

According to FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt, the gap between Clemson and the rest of the ACC is almost insurmountable.

Lastly, the Tigers boasted the best recruiting class in the ACC for this upcoming season and No. 3 class in the nation.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Fighting Irish football will join the ACC for the 2020 campaign.

Notre Dame’s record the past three seasons is 33–6, which is the best three-year run since Lou Holtz went 31–5–1 from 1991-1993.

Ian Book is set to return for his final year of eligibility, coming off an impressive 2019 performance. He became the first QB in Notre Dame history with at least 2,500 passing yards, 500 rushing yards and 30 TD passes in a single season.

And Klatt thinks that Book is poised to have another monster year with head coach Brian Kelly and offensive cooridnator Tommy Rees behind him.

North Carolina Tar Heels

The Tar Heels made their first bowl game appearance since 2016 and capped the season with blowout victories over NC State (41–10) and Temple (55–13 in the Military Bowl).

UNC returns 10 starters on offense, including reigning ACC Rookie of the Year QB Sam Howell, who threw a school-record 38 touchdown passes.

UNC’s air raid attack allowed it to rank 2nd in the ACC in total yards with 474.0 per game last season, and former USC superstar QB Matt Leinart likes the Tar Heels' chances to pose a challenge to the conference's best this season.

Miami Hurricanes

After back-to-back disappointing seasons, the Hurricanes brought in transfer QB D'Eriq King.

King arrived in Miami after spending his first four years at Houston, opting to sit out the remainder of his final year at Houston following the first four games in order to preserve his eligibility.

The 5-foot-11, 202-pound King had a monster junior campaign with the Cougars in 2018, racking up 3,656 yards of total offense and 50 total TDs, despite missing the last two games due to injury.

Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins were the only two QBs with more TDs in 2018.

According to coach Manny Diaz, King isn't just a high caliber athlete on the field, he's a veteran leader.

"I think that’s what’s really important for our football team, especially in that room where we’ve had some inconsistency and been young for a while now. To get an older guy that has winning experience making plays in college football, but more than anything he has the personality that ‘I wanna follow that guy, that’s a guy that I can trust,’ and that’s what D’Eriq did when he walked on our campus in January."

In addition, Bush believes King’s impact on the Miami football program could extend well past this year.

So, which of our expert lists do you agree with most?

If you missed Wednesday’s Big Noon Kickoff show, check it out in its entirety below!

And for more Top 5s from our crew, check out the top 5 teams in the SEC, the top 5 teams in the Big Ten, the state of college football, breakout player, breakout team, the most impactful transferbest coachesbest QBsbest RBsbest WRsbest defensive players, and best conferences heading into the 2020 college football season.


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