From May 20-31, Insider's college football experts will be examining the national championship chances of the 10 teams with the best odds to win the BCS title this season, according to Brian Fremeau's post-spring projections.
Today, KC Joyner takes a look both at the path the Clemson Tigers could take to the national championship game, and the factors that could trip them up along the way.
Since their national championship victory over Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl, the Clemson Tigers have fielded many strong clubs but have never claimed the top spot in an AP or BCS weekly ranking.
The Tigers are not likely to change that trend at the beginning of the 2013 season, as ESPN Insider Phil Steele projects Clemson to place No. 11 in the preseason top 25 and Mark Schlabach has them rated No. 12 in his latest top 25 ranking.
There is a good chance Clemson could ascend up those rankings, as ESPN Insider Brian Fremeau has projected the Tigers to finish first in the ACC Atlantic Division and to potentially end the year with as many as 11 wins. He gives them the best odds of any team to win the ACC, at 24 percent, and while their national championship chances aren't as strong as the rest of the teams we'll be profiling in the next two weeks, a zero- or one-loss season would absolutely put them in the title discussion.
So can Dabo Swinney's club turn that ascension into Clemson's second national championship? Let's take a look at the reasons both for why and why not.
Why Clemson can win the national championship
1. The offense is loaded
and the defense is better than you think
The Tigers are returning seven starters from an offense that last year claimed the incredible achievement of posting 101 team and individual offensive statistical records in a single season.