Ranked Openers

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Ranked Openers

When the preseason polls come out, Georgia and Clemson will be ranked in the top 25. This is the 11th time Clemson has opened the season against a ranked opponent.

Many forget last season Auburn came into the season ranked 25th, while Clemson was ranked 14th. The Clemson Tigers beat the Auburn Tigers 26-19. Nuke Hopkins started his phenomenal junior season with 13 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. Clemson went on to an 11-2 season and finished 11th in the country in the AP as well as ninth in USA Today, while Auburn struggled to finish 3-9.

In 2008, Clemson came into the season opener against Alabama ranked ninth. The Crimson Tide was ranked 24th. That night the Tide rolled Clemson 34-10 in Atlanta and Alabama went on to a 12-2 season finishing sixth in the country. Clemson's nightmare night helped led to a 7-6 record.

In 2007, the Tigers opened at home against 19th-ranked Florida State. The Tigers were not ranked but beat the Seminoles 24-18. It was the third time in a row that the Tigers beat the Seminoles at home. That streak is now at five games. Clemson ended the season 9-4 and were ranked 21st the country. Florida State finished 7-6 and unranked.

In 2005, Tigers opened against 17th-ranked Texas A&M at home. The Tigers won late against the Aggies 25-24. This was James DavisJames Davis
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' first game as a Tiger and his presence in the fourth quarter was a major factor. Clemson finished the season 8-4 and was ranked 21st the country. A&M finished 5-6.

In 2003, Clemson opened at home against 11th-ranked Georgia. The Bulldogs ripped Clemson 30-0 and finished the season 11-3 and ranked sixth in the country. Fred Gibson and the high flying Bulldogs offense burned Clemson early and often that hot afternoon. Clemson rebounded to finished 9-4 and ranked 22nd in the country.

The year before in 2002, Clemson opened against eighth-ranked Georgia in Athens. Georgia beat Clemson 31-28 that night. The Tigers missed a late field goal that would have sent the game to overtime. The Bulldogs finish at 13-1 and third in the nation. Tigers went 7-6.

Perhaps the biggest openers in Clemson history came in 1982. Georgia and Clemson were the two defending national champions. Georgia won the national title in 1980 behind it's freshman sensation Herschel Walker. Clemson shut down Walker the following years and took the national title. On Labor Day night in 1982, Georgia came into the game ranked seventh in the country while the Tigers entered the season at number 11. The Bulldogs blocked a punt and won 13-7. The Bulldogs went on to go 11-1 and was ranked fourth the country. Clemson went 9-1-1 and finished eighth in the country.

In 1977, Clemson opened against 10th-ranked Maryland. The Terps survived 21-14 against an upstart Clemson team. Many believe it was this performance that gave this team confidence that helped them beat 17th-ranked Georgia 7-6 the following week in Athens. Maryland went on to an 8-4 season while Clemson finished at 8-3-1. That Clemson team went to it's first bowl game since 1959.

The 1974 season opened at 20th-ranked Texas A&M and lost 24-0. The Aggies went in to an 8-3 campaign and finished the season ranked 15th. Clemson went undefeated at home and finished 7-4 that season.

The first time Clemson had ever opened against a ranked opponent was in 1963. Oklahoma started the season ranked fourth which is the highest ranked team Clemson has ever opened against. The Tigers fell 31-14 to the Sooners. Oklahoma finished 8-2 and ranked eighth in the final poll. Clemson finished 5-4.

Clemson opened every season with Presbyterian College from 1930 to 1957 and there were no preseason polls before that series began.

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