Schedule sets up another Clemson run to the College Football Playoff
|Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 6:07 PM- -|
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney describes the 11th month of the year as “Championship November” when talking about season schedules, and the critical part of the 2018 schedule once again falls in that part of the year but includes the last two weekends in October.
The 2018 schedule was released by the ACC Wednesday, and my first thoughts were as follows:
*That’s as favorable of a schedule as I’ve seen for the Tigers.
*What? No Thursday night games at Georgia Tech on short rest? No Friday night game at Boston College?
*Clemson should run the table.
*Maybe Swinney now runs the ACC as well as the federal prison system, the South Carolina government, the Illuminati, and mega-churches.
The schedule is unusual in that Clemson will not have consecutive home games until the last two games of the season, the first time that has happened since 1986 when the Tigers had just five home games. The schedule alternates home and away games for the first 11 games of the season, a first in school history.
The Tigers will play all 12 of their regular season games on Saturdays for the first time since 2015 and for just the second time in the last seven years. The open date is on October 13, squarely in the middle of the schedule.
The Tigers open with Furman, but travel to College Station, TX, to take on Texas A&M and new head coach Jimbo Fisher the second week of the season. In many ways, as of right now, this stands as the marquee game on the schedule until we know more about the other teams. Also, as of now, it stands as really the one game you could point to that has ESPN College GameDay potential.
I am excited about seeing a game at Kyle Field, and Nikki is already trying to talk me into going in early to catch the Astros and Twins on Wednesday night. That likely won’t happen, but we want to make the most of this trip.
The rest of the first part of the schedule has the Tigers returning home to play Georgia Southern, traveling to Atlanta to take on Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech team, returning home to take on Syracuse (in a revenge game, of sorts) before ending the first half with a trip to Wake Forest.
The open week comes at a good time – at that point the Tigers will have been going strong for 10 straight weeks (including fall camp in August) and will have played three of the season’s five road games.
The second half kicks off with a home game against NC State (which returns quarterback Ryan Finley) and a trip to Tallahassee to play a Florida St. team we know nothing about right now. November kicks off with a home game against Louisville, followed by a trip to Boston College, and the final home stretch against Duke and arch-rival South Carolina.
The road schedule is: not as daunting as it could be.
The home schedule is: underwhelming.
The Tigers should be: favored in all 12 of those contests.
The toughest game in the first half of the schedule: Texas A&M
The toughest game in the second half of the schedule: watch out for a cold, blustery night at improved BC, but FSU is probably the most talented.
*Georgia Tech: Clemson has won five of the last six between the two schools
*Furman: Clemson has won 30 straight in the series, and the Paladins haven’t claimed a win against the Tigers since 1936.
*Wake Forest: Clemson has won 10 straight in the state of North Carolina and nine straight in the series. The last win for the Demon Deacons in the series was Tommy Bowden’s last game as Clemson’s head coach.
*NC State: Clemson has won six straight and 13 of the last 14.
*Florida St.: Clemson has won three in a row
*Boston College: Clemson has won seven straight in the series.
*Duke: Has not won at Clemson since 1980
*South Carolina: Clemson has won four straight
If the Tigers are to make another trip to the College Football Playoff, the schedule needed to be the first piece of the puzzle - no weird games on Friday night on short rest, no weird turnarounds on Thursday and no long stretches of play on the road. Check, check, and check. The schedule is there for another run.
2018 Clemson football schedule
Sept. 1 FURMAN
Sept. 8 at Texas A&M
Sept. 15 GEORGIA SOUTHERN
Sept. 22 at Georgia Tech
Sept. 29 SYRACUSE
Oct. 6 at Wake Forest
Oct. 20 NC STATE
Oct. 27 at Florida State
Nov. 3 LOUISVILLE
Nov. 10 at Boston College
Nov. 17 DUKE
Nov. 24 SOUTH CAROLINA