ESPN analyst says Georgia has best chance of being 'the next Clemson'
In the SEC, every program is chasing Alabama. Since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa ahead of the 2007 season, Alabama has dominated the SEC, winning seven conference titles and six national titles. In Year 2 under Saban, the Crimson Tide won the SEC West and played in a BCS bowl. In Year 3, UA won both the SEC title and BCS national championship game.
Clemson, meanwhile, has been the breakout program of the College Football Playoff era. Dabo Swinney’s Tigers have made the final four each of the last six seasons, unseating Florida State as the dominant program in the ACC.
ESPN’s Bill Connelly recently looked at a wide range of on-field stats and recruiting data to try to determine which program could be the next program by having a breakthrough in 2021 and then sustaining a run of CFP berths. Connelly ranked Georgia as the program most likely to be the new Clemson:
Should this one even count? Like JT Daniels being the most likely Next Mac Jones for 2021, it’s almost too obvious a choice.
Kirby Smart’s Dawgs indeed made the national title game in 2017, their average SP+ rating is higher than OU’s, they’ve got the top-10 finishes mentioned above and the only team that has landed more ESPN 300 prospects than UGA over the past three years is Bama. The only thing they’re lacking is a sustained, CFP-level breakthrough.
Notre Dame, Oregon, Penn State and LSU rounded out Connelly’s top five candidates to be the next Clemson. His lengthy column “Searching for the next Clemson: Who can become college football’s next superpower?” why he settled on those five teams for those interested in reading more about why the numbers suggest UGA is on the verge of a breakthrough.