Not everyoneexpected Dabo Swinney to do so well back in the seventh game of the 2008 season. That was his first as interim head coach. Swiney took over the program when 10th year head coach Tommy Bowden resigned.Swinney finished the 2008 season and Clemson won the in-state rivalry game with South Carolina to become bowl eligible. That win was important in him having the interim label removed from his title the next season. After a 15-12 run the next two years,hehas led the team to double digit wins five straight times. In 2015, the Tigers were 14-0 when they played Alabama in the National Championship Game.

The question now is can they get back to the playoffs for a second straight year? The following is a look at the regular season:

Sept. 3 - at Auburn -After a disappointing 2015, expect Auburn to be improved. They will have a much needed mobile quarterback in James Franklin III. However, their defense must improve to compete with the better teams. Prediction -Clemson 31 - Auburn 20

Sept. 10 - Troy -Prediction - Clemson 48 - Troy 14

Sept. 17 - South Carolina State -Prediction - Clemson 52 - SC State 7

Sept 22. - at Georgia Tech -Last time the Tigers were here, Tech won 28-6.

It was also the last regular season game Clemson lost going into this year. In 2015, it seemed every bounce--except in the Fl. State game--went against Tech. They should be better this year.Prediction Clemson 28 - Ga. Tech 20

Oct. 1 - Louisville -The Cardinals were disappointed at their 8-5 finish in 2015. However, on closer inspection, three of the losses were one score games. Louisville returns 17 starters, making this is a very dangerous team. Still, Clemson has the home field, which may be just enough.

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Prediction - Clemson 28 - Louisville 27

Oct. 7 - at Boston College -Watching Boston College play last year, you couldn't help but feel for that defense. They played well, averaging only 15 points given up per game. But, alas, the offense let them down big as they only averaged scoring 17. BC will be a bit better in 2016.Prediction - Clemson 35 - BC 20

Oct. 15 - NC State - This is Dave Doeren's fourth year as head coach of the WolfPack. Overall, he is doing a great job, leading State to bowls the past two years.

Still, the defense needs to improve for the team to become a contender.Prediction - Clemson 38 - NC State 24

Oct. 29 - at Florida State -Both teams are coming off a bye week for this one. Last year, Florida State was the least experienced team in college Football. This year, they return 17 starters and have the home-field advantage in this game.Prediction - Florida State 31 - Clemson 27

Nov. 5 - Syracuse -New head coach Dino Babers will make the Orange competitive right away. It may take a couple of recruiting classes to make them an ACC title contender though.

Prediction - Clemson 38 - Syracuse 24

Nov. 12 - Pittsburgh -These guys like to run and play tough defense under second year coach Pat Narduzzi.They have a capable passing game, though with senior transfer from Tennessee, Nathan Peterman. They return 16 starters from a 8-5 team that had three one score losses. If the game were in Pittsburgh, it would likely be more of a danger. Prediction - Clemson 24 - Pittsburgh 17

Nov. 19 - at Wake Forest -Wake is just completely out-athleted (new word) by this Clemson team.

Of course, they are a conference foe so you need to stay aware.Prediction - Clemson 40 - Wake 20

Nov. 26 - South Carolina -Though the Gamecocks are in complete rebuild mode with new head coach Will Muschamp, this is a heated rivalry. No sleep walking, no looking ahead or this becomes a game. Prediction - Clemson 34 - Carolina 21

11-1 in the regular season, plus they must win the ACC Title Game. Doing that would likely put Clemson back into the college football playoff. Get there and obviously they have a chance at winning it all.

Still, one word of caution -- or encouragement -- a couple of crazy bounces and this team could be 9-3 -- or 12-0!

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