After a crushing loss at the hands of Syracuse, it was back to the drawing board for the Clemson Tigers at the start of their bye week.
Rebounding after losses has been a rare thing to deal with at Clemson over the past couple of years, as the Tigers have lost just three games in the last three seasons, one of which came in the 2015 National Championship Game against Alabama.
For the second straight season, Clemson lost in the regular season to a non-traditional ACC foe that came from the old Big East.
Last year, Pittsburgh provided the misstep for Clemson, and while wide receiver Hunter Renfrow says the Tigers can draw on that experience, this team has to find its own way to draw its own path back to the College Football Playoff Discussion.
The week could have been a lot worse for the Tigers, as Clemson benefited from other teams suffering setbacks or unimpressive victories. The Tigers dropped to #7 in the AP Poll and #8 in the Coaches’ Poll, hardly a severe punishment for a road loss on a short week of preparation.
The Tigers will have opportunities to return into good favor with College Football Playoff Committee, with games at a ranked NC State Wolfpack team that looks to be a divisional contender, and a home matchup with Florida State which will get more seasoning for first-year quarterback James Blackman.
Despite the glum mood created by the loss, defensive end Austin Bryant knows the Tigers cannot dwell on the negative feelings going into their next matchup with Georgia Tech a week from Saturday.
On the injury front, Dabo Swinney said Monday he remained encouraged by QB Kelly Bryant’s response after suffering a concussion on Friday night. He is hopeful that Bryant can return to practice this week. Swinney also shared that Mark Fields would be limited in practice with week with an injury to the middle part of his foot.
According to Swinney, CB AJ Terrell (unspecified injury) and RB Travis Etienne (hamstring) should be fine to practice as well.
Clemson faces Georgia Tech in an 8 PM kickoff on ABC or ESPN2.