Nine up, three down


by - Senior Writer -
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Nine up, three down.

The opening salvo of the 2012 season will be fired in just a little over five weeks when the Tigers take to the turf in the Georgia Dome September 1st against Auburn.

What will the season hold? How many wins and how many losses? The answer is, of course, that no one knows. Each team is different, has a different chemistry and mindset, and injuries can certainly change things along the way.

However, I get asked all the time what I think Clemson’s record will be, and it’s a question I posed to Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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last week. I asked if this was a team capable of winning 10 or 11 games, and he answered that it absolutely was. He also said it was a team that was capable of winning just seven, and in that answer lays the reality of trying to predict college football – we just don’t know until they button up the chin straps and start the games.

Personally, I think this team is sitting in the 8-to-10 win range. If everything breaks right and the defense is better like I think, then 10 wins or more is realistic. Injuries and a lack of development on either line could mean disaster.

I am going to say that this is a 9-3 season - and instead of picking the nine wins and three losses, we’re gonna tell you why the Tigers might win each game, and why they might lose it. And it starts in Georgia…..

Sept. 1st vs. Auburn in Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic

WHY THEY MIGHT WIN: Auburn has two new coordinators, and the offense lacks any true skill players that strike fear in a defense. Auburn rolled out to a 21-7 lead midway through the second quarter a year ago, only to be outscored 31-3 over the final 38 minutes.

WHY THEY MIGHT LOSE: Clemson also has a new defensive coordinator, a rebuilt offensive line and Auburn's defensive front seven is stout. Plus, it’s in the Georgia Dome, a place that hasn’t been all that kind to Clemson over the years as the Tigers have a 2-5 record there.

Sept. 8th vs. Ball State

WHY THEY MIGHT WIN: The Cardinals allowed opponents to convert on a whopping 52.91% of third downs last season, good [or bad] for 118th in the nation, and the defense returns just five starters. Clemson will also be playing its first home game of the season.

WHY THEY MIGHT LOSE: Pete Lembo is a good coach, having coached at Elon for a number of years, and his offense is the kind that has given the Tigers fits over the past few seasons.

Sept. 15th vs. Furman

WHY THEY MIGHT WIN: The Tigers have won 40 straight games against Southern Conference teams and 50 straight games against current Southern Conference teams. Clemson is also 25-0 all-time against Football Championship Sub-Division teams.

WHY THEY MIGHT LOSE: Wofford played the Tigers tough a year ago in Death Valley in a game that was in doubt until the fourth quarter. The following week, Clemson is at FSU in an early ACC Atlantic showdown.

September 22nd at FSU

WHY THEY MIGHT WIN: The Tigers have won five of the last seven meetings against the Noles, and the FSU offense has yet to find any sort of identity under Jimbo Fisher. The Tigers also had no problem moving the ball against FSU’s defense a year ago.

WHY THEY MIGHT LOSE: The FSU defense is solid, and a banged-up Seminole team with a backup QB almost knocked off Clemson in Death Valley a year ago. This time, they should be healthier, and they play at Doak Campbell. Some even say the Noles are a national title contender.

Sept. 29th at Boston College

WHY THEY MIGHT WIN: Boston College hasn’t done a lot to address some of the talent issues they’ve had, and head coach Frank Spaziani Is on the hot seat. Clemson chewed up BC 36-14 a year ago in a game that was more workmanlike than flashy.

WHY THEY MIGHT LOSE: TheTigers took a more talented team to Chestnut Hill two years ago and managed to lose 16-10. Boston is another one of those places that has never been kind to Clemson.

Oct. 6th vs. Georgia Tech

WHY THEY MIGHT WIN: The Tigers owe the Jackets some payback, and gone is defensive coordinator Kevin SteeleKevin Steele
Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
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, who could never seem to figure out how to stop the option. Next up is new defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

WHY THEY MIGHT LOSE: The Jackets seem to always play their best game against Clemson, and Paul Johnson is 4-1 against Dabo Swinney. There always also seems to be a crucial, phantom holding call that stops Clemson drives.

Oct. 20th vs. Virginia Tech

WHY THEY MIGHT WIN: Clemson defeated the Hokies twice last season, both times in convincing fashion. The offense has to replace a lot of talent, including star running back David Wilson.

WHY THEY MIGHT LOSE: Bud Foster’s 2011 defense was filled with young starters, a group that has had a year to get better. Quarterback Logan Thomas figures to be better as well.

Oct. 25th at Wake Forest

WHY THEY MIGHT WIN: Clemson has won three consecutive in the series and five of the last six and the talent disparity has been noticeable in most of those games as the Tigers have outscored the Deacons 176-68 in those five wins. The lone loss was by a 12-7 mark in Tommy Bowden’s last game.

WHY THEY MIGHT LOSE: It’s on a Thursday night in Winston-Salem, and the Deacons managed to knock off a more talented Florida St. team on their home turf a year ago. Clemson is also 2-8 on Thursday nights since 1999.

Nov. 3rd at Duke

WHY THEY MIGHT WIN: The Blue Devils haven’t been to a bowl game in 16 years, and the Tigers get to take their air show to Durham against a defense that allowed 23 touchdown passes a year ago while picking off just six passes. The last time Clemson played in Durham, they came away with a 47-10 victory.

WHY THEY MIGHT LOSE: The Blue Devils have a ton of returning starters on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Sean Renfree and receiver Conner Vernon. The defense has nine returning starters, and head coach David Cutcliffe thinks this might be the team that breaks the bowl streak.

Nov. 10th vs. Maryland

WHY THEY MIGHT WIN: Maryland won just two games a year ago, and there are all kinds of issues in College Park. Quarterback depth is an issue, and the Terrapin defense gave up 56 points to a Clemson team last season that might have scored 70 if not for turnovers.

WHY THEY MIGHT LOSE: Since 2000, the Tigers are 3-3 against Maryland at home. Last season, quarterback C.J. Brown ran over and around the Tigers’ defense as the Terps put up 45 points.

Nov. 17th vs. NC State

WHY THEY MIGHT WIN: The Tigers are 5-1 against the Pack in Death Valley since 2000, and Clemson had won seven in a row in the series before last year. The Tigers lost last year without Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 200
Fort Myers, FL

View Full Profile
, a difference-maker in more ways than one.

WHY THEY MIGHT LOSE: Corner David Amerson is lethal, and the Pack blasted Clemson 37-13 a year ago in Raleigh. And it wasn’t even that close.

Nov. 24th vs. South Carolina

WHY THEY MIGHT WIN: Ellis Johnson is no longer with the Gamecocks, and Swinney said he understands the importance of the rivalry to Clemson fans. The game last season was another example of Clemson’s defense looking lost and helping out the opposition. Venables says he has changed that.

WHY THEY MIGHT LOSE: South Carolina has won three in a row in the series, all three in fairly dominating fashion.

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Subject (Replies: 35) Author
Front Page Story: Nine up, three down
Crump®
South Carolina
OhEightLee
actually, usuck doesn't make that schedule......the SEC
tigrjm76®
yes and no
orangeblood10
Re: South Carolina
jvtiger77
Re: South Carolina
MackDaddy®
Our schedule is set up for us to run the table if we can
Sunday12pack
Re: Our schedule is set up for us to run the table if we can
leftie
Gloom despair and agony on me***
Outbound®
Re: Our schedule is set up for us to run the table if we can
allorangeallthetime52®
Re: Our schedule is set up for us to run the table if we can
agtiger69
Re: Our schedule is set up for us to run the table if we can
MackDaddy®
Re: Our schedule is set up for us to run the table if we can
123me
Open date did not help us in 2007 and 08 when we lost to
Neilly
Re: Front Page Story: Nine up, three down
jvtiger77
Let me tell Tigernet to give you a full refund
TigerSig
Re: Let me tell Tigernet to give you a full refund
jvtiger77
Re: Front Page Story: Nine up, three down
allorangeallthetime52®
Re: Front Page Story: Nine up, three down
orangeman
From what I could gather
boricuatiger
Re: From what I could gather
allorangeallthetime52®
Re: Front Page Story: Nine up, three down
ChunkyOwl
9-3????? Have more faith than that!
CU2013®
8-4...9-3.......max at 10-2. Calling 8-4
estebanrocks
What does the end of last year have to do with this year?*****
CU2013®
Why is 9-3 considered a pessimistic prediction??? I'd say
surroundedtiger
I just think we're a better team than that, that's all***
CU2013®
Re: Front Page Story: Nine up, three down
AFtigers87®
Re: Front Page Story: Nine up, three down
Dugatiger®
Re: Front Page Story: Nine up, three down
Streaking Tiger
Our improved talent alone will get us 10 wins. We'll get 11
Ridge Creek
A couple years ago most people thought Steele was great.
TigersAndCubs
Re: A couple years ago most people thought Steele was great.
sideliner
Re: A couple years ago most people thought Steele was great.
sideliner
Re: Front Page Story: Nine up, three down
footballmanager
Re: Front Page Story: Nine up, three down
sideliner

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