Analyst breaks down why Clemson is best bet to win the ACC

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After winning the previous six titles, Clemson didn’t appear in the ACC Championship game in 2021, but that doesn’t mean the Tigers aren’t still the team to beat.

According to Tipico Sportsbook, Clemson is -120 to win the ACC title in 2022, with Miami and North Carolina State behind at +600 and +900, respectively.

Although -120 is a step down from Clemson’s 2021 preseason odds of -300, CBS Sports’ Chip Patterson believes the Tigers are still the best bet to win the conference, and here’s why.

It is extremely unlikely that the Tigers will rank dead last in the ACC in passing efficiency like they did in 2021, a season that still saw Dabo Swinney’s team finish 10-3 thanks to one of the nation’s best defenses. That defensive front should still be among the best in the country, and even league-average passing from D.J. Uiagalelei (or freshman phenom Cade Klubnik) should be the difference in flipping at least a couple of those losses in the other direction. Clemson’s “down year” had no bad losses, so the bounce-back season absolutely should include an ACC Championship.

Clemson returns all of its defensive line starters from 2021, including defensive tackle Bryan Bresee who missed the majority of last season because of a torn ACL. Along with Bresee, defensive tackle Tyler Davis and defensive ends Myles Murphy, K.J. Henry and Xavier Thomas will be a tough group to contain for opposing offenses.

As for the offense, Swinney remained committed to Uiagalelei as the team’s starter after the spring game, so he will be taking the first-team snaps under center as of now. Even if Klubnik eventually takes over, as Patterson points out, Clemson’s offense should be healthier and much improved, paving the way for a potential return to Charlotte, North Carolina in December for a shot at the conference title.