Broad Overview: Miami of Ohio coach Chuck Martin described playing Ohio State recently as “playing in recess and Ohio State gets the first 85 picks”. The same is true of Clemson playing Charlotte, or for that matter most elite programs playing lower FBS or FCS teams.
“Will Healy – who?” – the reactions of my friends as I praised Coach Healy during the summer, and arguably many fans when he was hired at UNC Charlotte. Will Healy is a star coach in the mold of Dabo Swinney that should be on every AD’s running shortlist.
It goes without saying that Clemson will probably beat Charlotte. While the 49ers have posted wins against Gardner-Webb and UMass with a shootout loss to Appalachian State so far, this is year one of a rebuilding project that will take time against the best program in college football. This game shouldn’t be taken lightly – as G5 programs can take Clemson to the wire (see Troy).
How impressive is Will Healy? His first head coaching job was at Austin Peay in Tennessee – the worst team in the FCS by far with a 27 game losing streak. He recruited the fifth and first ranked recruiting class in the FCS, and lead the team from going 0-11 in his first season with over 50 departures to 8-1 in his second season (5-6 in his last year).
*NOTE: Larry Williams of Tiger Illustrated has an excellent Clemson Podcast, entitled the Clemson Dubcast. He had Will Healy on his show earlier this week. Go listen, because writing doesn’t do his story justice: Will Healy, Dabo disciple .
Players to Watch: Redshirt senior defensive end Alex Highsmith was a first team all-CUSA selection in 2018, and he already has four sacks in three games. Coach Swinney described him as the best player the Tigers have seen so far in 2019, and he could get looks from NFL teams if he continues his high level of play.
Senior runningback Benny LeMay and sophomore kicker Jonathan Cruz were second team all-conference in 2018 as well.
Oddshark: Clemson is favored by 41.5 points, with 66% of bets going for Clemson. The over/under is 61 and 56% of bets are on the over. Oddshark’s projected score is Clemson 53.0, Charlotte 17.1
William’s Prediction: In fifteen years we will probably look on this as the first matchup of two coaching stars – one at the top of his profession and the other on the rise. Charlotte will play with energy and could make things interesting but the odds are stacked against Charlotte and they don’t have the ingredients that typical G5 upset contenders have. Clemson 62 Charlotte 10