WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — When they came together a month ago to fight for their season, this is what Clemson’s players had in mind.

It didn’t matter that there was no pep band at mostly empty Truist Field to celebrate the Tigers’ 37-13 win against Wake Forest on Saturday night — Clemson brought its own speaker to play its alma mater. Instead of a hop of a plane flight home, the Tigers would take a 3 1/2-hour, socially distanced bus ride. Remote news conferences, fistbumps when possible, masks on the sidelines — count all as more than acceptable adjustments for coach Dabo Swinney’s team.

All along, Clemson, which has had no players opt out of the season during the COVID-19 pandemic, has maintained it just wants to compete. And as expected, once the Tigers got that chance, they played the part of a top-ranked team that intends to compete for another College Football Playoff berth.

“It was a little weird, but…



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