It's all-Tiger action on the plains on Saturday night when Clemson opens the season against Auburn at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN (or ESPNews, if UGA-UNC is still going). This will be the 50th meeting all-time between Clemson and Auburn, and while Auburn has traditionally enjoyed the better end of this game, Clemson can notch its third straight win in this series.
When we last left Clemson, it fell just short against Alabama in a scintillating College Football Playoff championship game, 40-35. The Tigers went 14-1 and have a chance to put up a similar performance again this season. Deshaun Watson is back, and so is nearly every offensive weapon. That includes wide receiver Mike Williams, who missed 2015 with an injury. The defense faces a lot of turnover, but Clemson has recruited well enough that there's a lot of talent there to take over. This team should be really, really good.
Auburn, meanwhile, needs to bounce back. The Tigers used to be kings of close game heroics, but went 3-4 in games decided by one score last season. One of those wins, you'll remember, was an overtime nail-biter over FCS Jacksonville State. They hit a major obstacle before the season even started with the dismissal of starting running back Jovon Robinson. Add to that a murky quarterback situation, and it's easy to get queasy thinking about Auburn's chances.
But Gus Malzahn has been creative before, and it would be far from shocking if the Tigers somehow pulled a good season from all this uncertainty. Also, Auburn is having its fans wear orange against an orange team, and that's kind of odd.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN (or ESPNews, for a few)
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Spread: Clemson started the week as a 7.5-point favorite.
Three big things to know
Bill C.'s big previews
Bill C.'s big previews
1. Take two for Clemson
Clemson came agonizingly close to winning the national championship last season, and they are one of the favorites to make the Playoff again this year and make another run at the title. Clemson's Tigers are solid favorites to beat Auburn's Tigers, but starting on the road in a hostile environment in Jordan-Hare is a tricky way to start the season.
2. Which Auburn are we getting?
In the past few seasons, we've seen Auburn's form on the football field fluctuate as wildly as any team in the country. After a pair of disappointing seasons in a row, Malzahn needs a good year to jump off the hot seat. Opening the season with a win over Clemson would go a long way towards getting people off his back.
3. Praise be, we get another year of Deshaun Watson
Clemson's electrifying quarterback is here for his junior and almost certainly his final college football season, and this is going to be a lot of fun to watch. Watson scored a combined 47 touchdowns in 2015, and health permitting, there's no reason to think he won't have another amazing season. Let's enjoy this before the NFL takes him and tells us his hands are too small, or something.