ESPN FPI ranks Clemson No. 1 for second-straight preseason


by - Staff Writer -
Trevor Lawrence is projected to lead the No. 1 offense in college football.
Trevor Lawrence is projected to lead the No. 1 offense in college football.

Clemson is back where it started and finished in the 2018 ESPN Football Power Index.

No. 1.

The FPI metric released its preseason rankings Thursday with the Tigers on top of a top-five also including Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Michigan.

They project Clemson with the No. 1 offense and the No. 2 defense in college football, also managing a top-25 special teams group (21). Perennial Playoff opponent Alabama is projected as having the No. 2 offense and the No. 1 defense and also a top-10 special teams group (7).

Clemson opponents checked in as high as No. 11, with Texas A&M (No. 7 offense/No. 31 defense/No. 3 special teams), then South Carolina at No. 19 (No. 15 offense/No. 32 defense/No. 26 special teams) and Florida State at No. 22 (No. 48 offense/No. 10 defense/No. 40 special teams). North Carolina (45), NC State (47) and Syracuse (50) all snuck in the top-50, followed by Boston College (65), Wake Forest (66), Louisville (67), Georgia Tech (80) and Charlotte (121).

Per ESPN's 'points above average' metric, Clemson is slated to be at least 20 points better than all but one team in the ACC - still holding an 18.7-point advantage there on Florida State.

The lowest-ranked team to make the Playoff from ESPN's 2018 preseason FPI was Oklahoma at No. 9, while Clemson (1), Alabama (2) and Notre Dame (5) were all in the top-5.

The biggest change at the top from the final 2018 FPI rankings is Ohio State starting 13th after a No. 4 finish. Clemson, Alabama and Georgia occupied the top-three spots there also.

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