What are the toughest games on the Clemson schedule? Ranked from easiest to hardest, here are how important each of the Tigers’ games are.
How will the Clemson Tigers football schedule play out this season? Can the Tigers come up with another magical year? Will the schedule be any sort of a problem on the way to another ACC championship and a run to the College Football Playoff?
12. Sept. 17 vs. South Carolina State
South Carolina State put seven points on the board in the showdown at Clemson last season. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Clemson scored 73. That was a solid SCSU team that went on to finish with eight wins and a nasty defense. Whatever.
11. Sept. 10 vs. Troy
This should be a dangerous Troy team with a good offense and nice upside in the Sun Belt. It’s also going to be the home opener for Clemson – it’ll be over in a hurry.
10. Nov. 19 at Wake Forest
The Tigers haven’t lost to Wake Forest since a 12-7 clunker in 2008, and have won nine of the last 10 games. But the Demon Deacons are loaded with veterans this year and should be far stronger coming off a 3-9 campaign. Late in the season, could Clemson be tired in the ACC regular season finale? Probably not.
9. Nov. 5 vs. Syracuse
Clemson lost to Syracuse 41-0 in the 1996 Gator Bowl, but is 3-0 since the Orange joined the ACC. However, ‘Cuse came up with a strong performance in last year’s loss in the Carrier Dome, and now the offense should be better. Coming off the Florida State game – no matter how that goes – the Tigers could be on letdown alert.
8. Oct. 15 vs. NC State
It was one of the most fun games of the 2015 ACC season when Clemson went to Raleigh and came up with a 56-41 win. The Tigers have won 11 of the last 12 in the series, and this time around, this game comes before finally getting a week off – they could be looking ahead to the break before Florida State.
7. Nov. 26 vs. South Carolina
You think Will Muschamp will be looking to put his stamp on the South Carolina gig in Year 1? The Gamecocks sucked last year and still gave the Tigers a fight in the 37-32 loss – this year’s version will be stronger and better coached.
6. Oct. 7 at Boston College
Can the terrific Eagle defense pitch a gem in a quirky home game? The defense did an okay job in last year’s loss, but this time around it’s on Friday night with the spotlight on. Coming off the Louisville game, the Eagles will have to care.
5. Nov. 12 vs. Pitt
It’s the first ACC meeting between the two programs with Pitt winning the one and only historical meeting 34-3 in the 1977 Gator Bowl. The Panthers could be in for a rough day coming off a trip to Miami, while the Tigers are in the midst of a relatively easy November – this is the only November game against a team that went bowling last year.
4. Sept. 3 at Auburn
Auburn is in desperate need of a gigantic win to kick things off, and nothing would make more Week 1 noise than a win over Clemson. It’s going to be a fired up environment and the ACC Tigers have to be ready to deal with the emotion of the moment. It’s going to be a fight.
3. Sept. 22 at Georgia Tech
Don’t overlook a Yellow Jacket team coming off a 3-9 season. No one likes playing against the Georgia Tech offense with a short week to prepare, and even though Clemson has South Carolina State the week before, this is dangerous – it’s a Thursday night game with everyone watching.
2. Oct. 1 vs. Louisville
As Clemson started rolling last season this became an afterthought, but one of the closest calls came against the Cardinals on the road in a 20-17 win. This is just the third time the two teams have faced each other, with the Tigers winning the first two matchups. It’s a must-win considering there’s a date at the end of the month against …
1. Oct. 29 at Florida State
The Seminoles have won three of the last four in the series and haven’t lost at home to the Tigers since 2006. While Louisville will be deep in the hunt for the Atlantic title, if all goes according to form and the two most talented teams are as good as everyone hopes, this might turn out to be for a spot in the College Football Playoff.