It sure is fun to have a little bit of time to revise preseason predictions. This ignores, of course, that the predictions could have waited another month.
In any case, let's go back to this brilliant take from earlier this month, shall we?
C.J. Spiller's gone. So's Ricky Sapp. Quarterback Kyle Parker might as well be, and for the purposes of this ranking it's assumed he'll sign with the Colorado Rockies later this summer and end his college football career.
So, uh, yeah. About that.
Turns out Parker didn't take the money and run. Bad for those projecting some level of doom for Clemson, good for Parker for getting the chance to play quarterback for another year and excellent for the Tigers' chances of repeating as ACC Atlantic Division champs.
Parker threw for 2,526 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions a season ago, his first as a starter. In what constitutes no surprise at all, he had four touchdowns and six picks in Clemson's five losses. In the wins, the ratio was 16-6.
In total, was it overwhelming? No. Solid enough? Absolutely, especially when handing off to Spiller was an option.
And just remember --- only two of the last nine quarterbacks of ACC champions actually threw for 20 touchdowns. Having someone who is better than the norm can only help.
The College Football Countdown pegged Clemson at No. 41 --- not as low as some other places, but it was a conservative placement based on Parker's departure from Death Valley.
Now that he's back? How does a borderline top-25 team sound?
(As a point of comparison, Florida State was at No. 23, South Carolina at No. 28 and Boston College at No. 33).
Yet Parker or no Parker, one part of that original projection still holds true:
The big question is whether or not Clemson can survive a schedule that sets them up for serious headaches. The Tigers draw Georgia Tech, Miami and North Carolina from the Coastal Division (no Duke or Virginia to be seen), must visit Boston College and Florida State and also take an early swing to Auburn.
A Clemson fan with a great sense of television history might have bellowed "DANGER, Dabo Swinney, DANGER!" at the thought of redshirt freshman Tajh Boyd trying to navigate that schedule. Parker's decision averts the uneasy feelings that surely would have existed throughout August and early September in Tigertown.
But even though Clemson has its quarterback, the quality of the Tigers' opponents isn't going to decrease. That's still a scary schedule, and 9-3 would still be an accomplishment.
Clemson probably vaults past Boston College as the likely No. 2 team in the Atlantic. But Florida State still has to be a slight favorite; the Seminoles get both BC and Clemson at home and have nothing to do with Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech.
The gap, though, is a lot smaller today than it seemed like it would be just a few weeks ago. The Tigers could always trip over themselves; after all, no one in the ACC creates self-inflicted wounds quite like Clemson. But the Tigers just became a heck of a lot more intriguing with Parker remaining in the fold, and that makes them the conference's biggest winners in July.