The Clemson Tigers have looked like a bully over the last few weeks, with blowout win after blowout win making the college football world fear the Tigers once again. This week, Dabo Swinney’s team takes on a Louisville squad that is already used to being stuffed into lockers by ACC opponents this season, and will look to keep things respectable against one of the best teams in all of college football.
Clemson is a gigantic 38.5-point favorite against the Cardinals going into this game at BetOnline.
Louisville has looked more like Lousy-ville this season, sitting in 116th in scoring offense with an average of 22.3 points per game. They are 119th in the country in rushing at 116.8 yards per game. After years of Lamar Jackson running at will on opposing defenses, the Cardinals seem to have forgotten how to move the ball on the ground with their running backs, with the team averaging 3.6 yards per carry as a whole.
The bright spot of this offense is the passing game - they are 70th in passing yardage with 232 yards per game. This could have something to do with them being down in just about every game they’ve played this season, forcing the team to take to the air. Jawon ‘Puma’ Pass has been disappointing this season, completing just 55% of his passes and having seven touchdowns to eight interceptions on the year.
On the other side of the ball, Louisville is 115th in scoring defense, giving up 36.3 points per game. That doesn’t bode well against a Clemson team that has scored 40 or more points five times this season.
Louisville has suffered five straight losses, all to ACC opponents. Louisville is alone in last place in both the ACC Atlantic division and the conference as a whole. They are the only team without a conference win on the season, and don’t look likely to get one here.
The Cardinals have only played one ranked team so far this season, which was their season-opening blowout loss to Alabama. However, Louisville could face four in a row as they close the season with Clemson, Syracuse, NC State, and Kentucky. An already bad season could get even worse for the Cardinals.
Clemson Tigers Week 10 Analysis
Clemson is 6th in the nation in scoring at 44.1 points per game. They have more 40-plus point games than they have games without 40 or more points on the season, and could very well add a sixth against a Louisville team that has struggled all season long on both sides of the ball.
The Tigers are 14th in rushing with 237 yards per game. Travis Etienne is averaging 7.8 yards per carry and has 14 touchdowns on the ground this year. He could be a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate given how well Clemson is playing, considering that the Tigers don’t have a quarterback who has played enough games to be considered for the award.
Speaking of quarterback play, Clemson is 22nd in the country in passing at 285.6 yards per game. Trevor Lawrence has hit his stride as the drama over starting him over Kelly Bryant feels like it was years ago at this point. Lawrence has 16 touchdowns to two interceptions on the season, and could have put up Heisman Trophy worthy numbers had he been given a shot to play the entire season.
On defense, the Tigers are tied for first in scoring defense at 13 points per game allowed. They have allowed 20 points combined over the last three weeks in blowout wins over Wake Forest, NC State, and Florida State. With those offenses being far better than what Louisville has put out there this season, this game has the potential to look like what putting an actual cardinal and an actual tiger in a cage together might look like.
Clemson is in second place in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the year. They might not be able to surpass Alabama ahead of a potential national title game showdown, but continuing to blow teams out will help them make a case that they should be number one.
The Tigers have a tricky game against Boston College on the road next week. This is also a matchup of the only unbeaten team in ACC play and the only winless team in ACC play. In other words, the Tigers have to be careful not to overlook Louisville here, as even the worst team in the ACC is still a Power 5 foe capable of shocking the world if they put it all together.
Louisville vs Clemson Trends
Louisville is 2-6 straight up on the season and 1-7 against the spread. Louisville is 7-20 against the spread in their last 27 overall games. They are also 1-4 against the spread in their last five games against conference opponents and 0-4 against the spread in their last four games against teams with winning records.
Clemson is 8-0 straight up on the season and 4-4 against the spread. Clemson is 6-1 in its last seven ACC games, are 4-1 against the spread in its last five overall games, and 4-1 against the spread in its last five games following a straight up win. Needless to say, the trends favor Clemson in this game, just like everything else in this game favors the Tigers.
Clemson is clearly exponentially better than the Louisville Cardinals in every facet of football. In fact, most teams are better than Louisville at football this year, while Louisville remains superior at things like paying basketball players under the table through shoe companies.
However, laying 38.5 points in a matchup between two Power 5 teams is a little too much, as Louisville should be able to keep things just a little closer than that in a game where the Tigers may be looking ahead to their last big test of the regular season.