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Clemson vs. Auburn: Battle of the Tigers

There’s no better way to start a new job than by having to confront one of your former employees. That is the situation facing Auburn’s first year defensive coordinator Kevin Steele who will have to open the season against the school pegged by many online betting websites as the future champs, the Clemson Tigers. Steele was fired back in 2011 after Clemson set the bowl-record for points allowed in an embarrassing 70-33 loss to West Virginia during the Orange Bowl.

“It was very difficult because I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach Steele,” Dabo Swinney, Clemson’s head coach, stated. “Coach Steele was a huge part of us laying a foundation here in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He helped us win our first ACC Championship in 20 years.”

While it may be a little embarrassing having to start a new job by facing the man that fired you, there’s no better way to show that same man that he made a mistake. Let’s check in on the best betting websites to see what they think about Steele’s vengeance.

Saturday the 3rd of September

Clemson -7 ½ (-110) 62 (-110) -300
Auburn +7 ½ (-110) 62 (-110) +250

Steele was brought in to help solidify Auburn’s defense but it was the inconsistent play at quarterback that crippled this team last season. This year Auburn will be turning to the young John Franklin III to help lead this offense. If for some reason things go south they will still have Jeremy Johnson and Sean White to back him up, two players who have much more experience. Jovon Robinson will be back at runningback for Auburn after a solid performance in the second half of the season. The receiver play was poor last year and likely will be again this season. Nate Craig-Myers and Kyle Davis will be the leaders of this receiving core and Marcus Davis and Tony Stephenson will be following their guidance.

Defensively Steele will have plenty to work with for Auburn. The defensive line may be the strongest aspect of this defense with the likes of Montravious Adams and Carl Lawson leading the front. Auburn’s secondary also has some talent with Tray Matthews and Rudy Ford manning the safeties and there will be heavy expectations on the duo to help accommodate for unseasoned linebackers. Overall, this Auburn team has enough skill to be a formidable opponent; they just need the right coaching and a bit of luck. Facing online betting favorites in week 1 however, is not a sign of good fortune.

Auburn’s expectations for the season aren’t too high, but the same cannot be said about their opponent. This Clemson team is ready to take the NCAA by storm after losing last year’s title game. Deshaun Watson will be returning at quarterback and many in the online betting community consider him to be best college football player in the nation. Watson will be splitting the load offensively with Wayne Gailman who rushed for over 1,500 yards last season. Clemson’s defense will be led by linebacker Ben Boulware who was a powerhouse last year racking up 82 tackles.

The weakness of this team lies in their secondary where they have only one returning starter, Cordrea Tankersley. However, it’s unlikely that Auburn will be able to exploit that weakness considering how inexperienced their quarterback is. At the end of the day the nation’s No. 2 team should emerge victorious.