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Road blocks ahead for Clemson

The numbers show why an undefeated season isn't in the cards for the Tigers

Updated: October 27, 2011, 10:43 AM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider

The San Diego Chargers of the late 1970s, early 1980s had one of the greatest collections of offensive personnel in the history of the NFL, highlighted by Hall of Famers Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow and Charlie Joiner.

But this talented team didn't make it to even one Super Bowl. The reason, simply put, was that even though they had a talented defense, the Chargers tended to get into too many shootout games.

For proof, consider the following. From 1978 to 1982, the Chargers had a 32-3 record in games where they allowed fewer than 20 points. When the opponent scored 20 or more points, the Chargers' mark dropped to 19-26. Because the Chargers scored at least 20 points in 35 of the 45 games where their opponents equaled or topped the 20-point mark, it shows that most of these were truly shootout-style games.

The fact that even the vaunted Air Coryell attack didn't fare well in shootout games illustrates just how low of a percentage proposition these contests are.

In other words, avoiding shootouts is a paramount concern for any team wanting to make a championship run.

And that's where the Clemson Tigers come in. As great as Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, Andre Ellington and the rest of their offensive playmakers are, the Tigers look to be headed into a string of potential shootout games that could all serve as pitfalls in this team's run toward an ACC championship, undefeated season and possible BCS title game berth.

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