Sound Off: Clemson still a playoff contender with a healthy Kelly Bryant at QB

Clemson suffered through a nightmarish effort at Syracuse on Friday the 13th, as the defending national champions suffered their first loss of the season to drop from the No. 2 spot in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

Dabo Swinney’s squad (6-1) looked shaky in all three phases against the Orange, and first-year starting quarterback Kelly Bryant left the game with a concussion after trying to play through an ankle injury. The struggling offense was turned over to redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper, who was unable to keep the team’s undefeated mark alive in a 27-24 road loss.

It was the season’s worst poor performance by the defending champs, who still remain a real player in the College Football Playoff conversation despite the road setback. However, there are many questions heading into the bye week.

In this week’s episode of Sound Off, presented by Zaxby’s, ACC DieHards writers Dave Miller and Joe McCaffrey discuss the biggest storylines surrounding the Tigers as they look to get healthy for the season’s stretch run.

Clemson trying to heal up and bounce back

Here are some time stamps to guide you:

  • Zerrick Cooper came in and relieved Kelly Bryant against the Orange. Did Hunter Johnson deserve to get a look in the top backup role instead? (2:38)
  • If health remains a concern for Bryant at any point moving forward, can the Tigers win another national title without their No. 1 signal caller? (4:15)
  • After the team’s bye, Clemson faces a dangerous Georgia Tech squad. How have the Yellow Jackets looked thus far in 2017? (5:41)
  • Where do the Tigers stand nationally in terms of the College Football Playoff race? (10:20)