Clemson football schedule predictions and early game-by-game preview for 2016. Projecting how the Tigers will do this year.
Coming off a phenomenal season and a push for the national title, can Clemson do it all again? Is the schedule decent enough to get back to the CFP? Check out the preseason predictions for every game.
Sept. 3 at Auburn
Auburn has the fire and the early desperation to come up with a gigantic win at home – the defense will perform at a whole other gear to get into the backfield. Even so, the Clemson offensive balance will be terrific in the fourth quarter and the new defensive front will come through when it absolutely has to.
Preseason Prediction: Clemson 26, Auburn 24
Sept. 10 vs. Troy
The Trojans have a good offense with the upside to bomb away and make this interesting for a while, but they’re going to be outclassed from the start. The Tigers won’t have any problems, but the defense will get pushed a bit.
Preseason Prediction: Clemson 45, Troy 13
Sept. 17 vs. South Carolina State
The 73-7 Clemson win in last year’s game is a tough bar to get over. The Tigers will take it easy, but it’ll be backup time early on as everyone gets some rest before the ACC opener.
Preseason Prediction: Clemson 66, South Carolina State 7
Sept. 22 at Georgia Tech
It’s a short week for Georgia Tech after facing Vanderbilt’s tough defense the week before, but it’ll rise up on a Thursday night game – always be afraid of the odd mid-week games – with the ground game working just enough to keep Deshaun Watson off the field. The Tiger offense will be terrific, but it won’t get enough chances.
Preseason Prediction: Georgia Tech 27, Clemson 24
Oct. 1 vs. Louisville
On the down side, the Tigers will be coming off a loss. On the upside, the Tigers will be coming off a loss. Louisville will be flying high after beating Florida State a few weeks earlier, but it’s going to run into a Clemson buzzsaw. The Tigers get a few extra days to stew, and they’ll come out smoking.
Preseason Prediction: Clemson 38, Louisville 17
Oct. 7 at Boston College
It’ll be another dangerous moment for the Tigers against the Boston College defense in an oddly-timed Friday night game. It’ll be more of a workmanlike day for the focused Clemson team that’ll rely on its own defense to get out with a better win than the final score will look like.
Preseason Prediction: Clemson 27, Boston College 13
Oct. 15 vs. NC State
Last year, the Wolfpack gave Clemson a ride in a wild 56-41 Tiger win, but this is one-sided series – Clemson has won 11 of the last 12 – should be more of the same. State is coming off a date with Notre Dame, while the Tigers get an extra day to rest up and get ready for the key home game going into a week off.
Preseason Prediction:Clemson 38, NC State 14
Oct. 29 at Florida State
And here we go. Both teams are looking for a spot in the College Football Playoff, and the loser probably can’t get there without a minor miracle. Both teams get a week off to prepare, and both teams should come out like it’s a heavyweight fight. Deshaun Watson will be brilliant, but the Seminoles will find enough of a running game – Dalvin Cook will go off – and the defense will be just sound enough late to come up with one of the biggest wins of the college football season.
Preseason Prediction: Florida State 23, Clemson 20
Nov. 5 vs. Syracuse
With two losses, can the Tigers pick it back up and get back in the ACC title hunt? Absolutely, winning their fourth in a row over the Orange with a far easier time of it than last year’s battle in the Carrier Dome. Clemson might have a letdown problem, but that’ll last one drive. It’ll be a blowout the rest of the way.
Preseason Prediction: Clemson 38, Syracuse 17
Nov. 12 vs. Pitt
It’ll take three quarters before Clemson pulls away and allows everyone to exhale, but they’ll get there. Pitt will come into the game struggling a bit offensively, and it’ll have lost to Miami the week before, but the Tigers will rise up when needed to stay ahead just enough until the fourth with a late touchdown drive ends the fun.
Preseason Prediction: Clemson 30, Pitt 21
Nov. 19 at Wake Forest
It’s been a while – see: 2008 – since Wake Forest was able to rise up and tag the Tigers, and it’ll be jacked up to come up with something special late in the season. After having a few problems getting the offense going here and there, Clemson will roll at will in its ACC regular season finale.
Preseason Prediction: Clemson 45, Wake Forest 16
Nov. 26 vs. South Carolina
The rivalry game is never a problem to get fired up for, and South Carolina did just that last year when giving the Tigers a whale of a fight. This year at home, Clemson will take care of the Fighting Muschamps right away with two early scoring drives – it’ll coast from there.
Preseason Prediction: Clemson 37, South Carolina 23
2016 Prediction: 10-2
2016 ACC Prediction: 6-2