With all due respect to Texas State winning at Baylor, and Deion Sanders and Colorado knocking off No. 17 TCU, the most stunning Week 1 upset was Duke shocking No. 9 and ACC favorite Clemson 28-7 in Durham on Monday night. Is the Tigers’ dynasty over under Dabo Swinney? ESPN’s Paul Finebaum thinks so and #Clemson rose from +1600 to make the College Football Playoff to +6600 after the loss.
Duke hadn’t beaten a Top 10 opponent since 1989, but Clemson had four drives inside the red zone that ended without points – including two lost fumbles by the offense following first-and-goal at the 1. The Tigers had 12 more first downs than Duke and both threw and rushed for 200 yards. They had been 108-0 all-time when throwing and rushing for at least 200 yards in a game. Clemson now has two losses by at least 21 points to unranked opponents in last seven games. It happened twice in the school’s previous 253 games.
"That's the weirdest game I've ever been a part of," Swinney said after Monday’s loss. "I've been beat. I've had my butt kicked. But that's the strangest game I've ever been a part of."
Before Monday, only Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Florida State had better odds to win the national title than Clemson, which is now +6000. The Tigers have missed the CFP each of the past two years and now must run the table to avoid a similar fate. Running the table is very possible as Clemson could still be favored in every game the rest of the regular season because the three toughest opponents all visit Death Valley: No. 8 Florida State, No. 13 Notre Dame and No. 21 North Carolina.
Florida State looked terrific Sunday night in beating No. 5 LSU and is now the +120 favorite to win the ACC title with Clemson at +500. Remember, no divisions these days. The teams with the two best conference records make it to Charlotte.
#GoDuke, which was +350 on the moneyline Monday, took a bit step forward in Year 1 under Coach Mike Elko and now this. The Blue Devils outscored the Tigers 22-0 in the second half to snap Clemson’s 12-game ACC winning streak. Junior QB Riley Leonard threw for 175 yards and rushed for 98 yards, including an electrifying 44-yard touchdown run. Leaonard is still a +8000 longshot for the Heisman, behind Clemson QB Cade Klubnik (+6500), who was 27-for-43 for 209 yards with a TD and pick Monday.
The Blue Devils are +1800 to win the ACC title after becoming the only unranked FBS team in the last 40 years to open a season with a 20-point win over an AP Top 10 opponent. Perhaps a bit of a letdown game this Saturday at home vs. FCS school Lafayette. Clemson plays its home opener Saturday vs. FCS school Charleston Southern.
Overall, underdogs were 9-78 vs. the moneyline in Week 1 with favorites 40-47 against the spread. Overs were 46-41.