Clemson's 2021 football schedule could be like this, but don't plan weddings just yet
|Friday, January 22, 2021, 8:01 AM- -|
It’s the time of year when we start looking forward to the release of the ACC football schedule, and while we wait, it’s never too early to take a look at how the 2021 Clemson schedule might look.
I spoke with a source at the ACC last week and was told that there were hopes the schedule would be released by the end of January. However, I was also told that things are fluid as the conference deals with basketball and the start of spring sports. And barring COVID interruptions in the fall, we hopefully can once again look forward to somewhat of a normal season. Clemson will once again be one of the favorites. The Tigers are ranked atop more than one preseason poll — and with good reason. The offense loses Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne but might be even better under DJ Uiagalelei because the offensive line has to improve, several players who missed considerable time should be healthy, and the defense returns its full complement of starters.
I spoke with a source at the ACC last week and was told that there were hopes the schedule would be released by the end of January. However, I was also told that things are fluid as the conference deals with basketball and the start of spring sports. And barring COVID interruptions in the fall, we hopefully can once again look forward to somewhat of a normal season.
Clemson will once again be one of the favorites. The Tigers are ranked atop more than one preseason poll — and with good reason. The offense loses Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne but might be even better under DJ Uiagalelei because the offensive line has to improve, several players who missed considerable time should be healthy, and the defense returns its full complement of starters.
In other words, Clemson isn’t going to sneak up on anybody next season. (Fun fact: a group of Tigers is called an ambush, or a streak, which is fitting considering the Tigers’ big-play ability and spate of streaks in recent seasons. Tigers are also nocturnal, which means they hunt at night, which might explain Clemson’s success in night games in recent seasons. Not so fun fact: Tiger urine smells like buttered popcorn, but you won’t take it to the movies.)
Clemson starts the season on Sept. 4th in Charlotte against the Georgia Bulldogs in what should be a top-five matchup. Because the season starts on the 4th and we know the final regular-season game will be on Nov. 27 against South Carolina, that leaves 13 weeks to play 12 games, giving the Tigers one open date.
How MIGHT the schedule look? This is simply a guess based on how schedules have looked in recent seasons. There are a few dates we already know, and I will designate those with a star (*). Again, except for the starred dates, this is all hypothetical.
*Against Georgia in Charlotte. The contest will be part of a 2021 rivalry series being hosted by the Charlotte Sports Foundation, including a neutral-site contest between Appalachian State and East Carolina.
The addition of the neutral-site game represents the sixth scheduled meeting between Clemson and Georgia over the next 14 seasons. In addition to the game in Charlotte, the two programs will face one another in the 2024 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. The historic geographic rivals also recently announced two home-and-home series that will feature games in Clemson in 2029 and 2033 and games in Athens in 2030 and 2032.
*SC State in Clemson. This game is intriguing because the Bulldogs will play four games starting next month after not having a 2020 fall season.
Against Georgia Tech in Clemson. The Tigers and Yellow Jackets have a history of playing each other early in the season, and the ACC opener for the Tigers would be good for the ACC Network. But wouldn’t it be fun if it was Florida State?
At Louisville. This is another game that seems like is always played earlier in the season rather than late. Clemson will have just six home games this season, so this seems like a good time to send them on the road in the ACC for the first time. The teams didn’t play each other in 2020.
At Syracuse. For whatever reason, the Orange seem to get up for the Tigers, and this will be Clemson’s second consecutive road trip. Could be a trap game with next week being……
Florida State at Clemson. This one will have everyone talking about 2020 and the cancellation at the last minute. FSU also has a bunch of transfers coming in they think will give new life to their program and they will be looking to make a statement.
Boston College at Clemson. The Eagles will be playing in Clemson for a third consecutive season thanks to the COVID-19 situation.
Open date. Seven games in with five to go sounds like a great time for a week off to heal bumps and bruises and get ready for Dabo Swinney’s championship run.
At NC State. Hello Dave Doeren and the Wolfpack, we’ve missed you. The Tigers and Wolfies didn’t play in 2020, and that’s a shame. It also always seems like Clemson plays at NC State around Halloween every two years, so this is where I am sticking the Pack.
At Pitt. The Panthers and Tigers played in 2020 and in the ACC Championship Game in 2018. Pitt also played in Clemson in 2016, but this will be Clemson’s first trip to Heinz Field.
*UConn at Clemson. This is one of those games we’ve known for a while. Not exciting.
Wake Forest at Clemson. This is another that seems to be played later in the season (at least to me). Clemson has had no problem with Wake Forest in recent seasons. This would be a good day for Military Appreciation Day and Senior Day.
*At South Carolina. Yes, this would make two consecutive trips to Columbia for the Tigers after last season’s home games saw the SEC do SEC things and cancel all out of conference games until it was convenient. That won’t happen this season. Clemson knows it’s coming. South Carolina knows what is coming and can’t stop it. Ouch.
The ACC Championship Game in Charlotte. Gotta think positive.
Again, don't start planning that road game or open date wedding just yet. Not based on my ramblings, but thinking ahead is always fun.