Clemson vs. Syracuse: Recent history suggests Week 5 will be uncomfortable for Tigers
Clemson is 2-2 on the season. It has yet to win an ACC game. It’s the second time in three years the Tigers have opened a year 2-2, but they now run the risk of falling below .500 after five games for the first time since 2010.
That year also marked the last time Clemson lost more than two conference games in a single season.
Dabo Swinney finds himself in a must-win spot this weekend, on the road, against an unbeaten Syracuse team. And recent trends suggest he’s in for an uncomfortable day on Saturday.
FOX Sports’ betting expert, Chris ‘The Bear’ Fallica shared a couple of notes on Thursday that suggest Clemson and Syracuse will be a close contest.
First, Fallica noted that Clemson has lost three of its last four games as a favorite over another Power Five opponent — including twice as a double-digit favorite. Clemson is a 6.5-point favorite over the Orange.
Second, Fallica noted that while Clemson has only lost one of its last six meetings with Syracuse, it is just 1-5 against the spread in those games.
Syracuse won by three points in 2017. Clemson rebounded the next season with a four-point victory and then blasted Syracuse 41-6 in 2019 and 47-21 in 2020.
The last two meetings? A three-point win, and a six-point win.
Those Clemson teams of the past didn’t have these Clemson issues, though. Clemson has seven turnovers in four games, including five lost fumbles. They’ve put the ball on the deck seven times, and those fumbles are mostly coming in back-breaking spots.
Clemson lost only 12 fumbles in 14 games a year ago. The ball is not bouncing the way of the Tigers to this point. And they’re about to face the ACC’s best defense. Syracuse ranks first in the conference in defensive efficiency, giving up 3.97 yards per play.
The Orange lead the conference in takeaways (10). Only seven FBS teams have created more turnovers through the first four weeks of the season.
Kickoff is set for noon ET on ABC.