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Clemson Football

Schedule Rankings Part I: Home Games

July 31, 2022

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It’s finally that time of year! Schedule talk means football season is right around the corner, and good news, that’s precisely what we have for you today! This is the first of a two-part series taking a quick look at the schedule and ranking the games.

Today, we take a look at Clemson’s home slate, ranking the games from most to least difficult. 

1. NC State - October 1

If Clemson managed to take advantage of another Wolfpack blown field goal and steal another one from them in overtime last season, NC State would likely be number two on the list. However, the Pack managed to survive in a game that ultimately cost the Tigers a shot at winning the  Atlantic Division for a sixth consecutive season (2020 excluded due to no divisions). The win for NC State was also their first win over the Tigers since 2011, and the Wolfpack are getting a lot of preseason hype to win the division this year.

Dave Doeren’s group will also be eager to show the world that their win was no fluke. For Clemson, this is about holding onto their title of undisputed ACC king. Circle the date, folks. 

2. Miami (FL) - November 19

Miami is a program that feels good after luring Mario Cristobal away from Oregon to be their new head coach. Cristobal sat down with at the ACC Kickoff, and after the interview, Swanny feels that the Hurricanes have finally hired the right guy to return them to prominence. 

Last year Miami limped their way to a 7-5 season and awkwardly, openly courted Cristobal while Manny Diaz was still their coach. There’s a feeling nationally that if Cristobal can’t get “Da U” back, no one can. When Miami rolls into Clemson in November, there’s a good chance they are 8-2 with a Top 25 ranking. There’s still plenty of talent in South Beach, which should be much improved from last season. 

3. Louisville - November 12

As was the case for many of the teams on Clemson’s schedule last season, Louisville gave the Tigers a run for their money as Clemson escaped with a 30-24 win. Quarterback Malik Cunningham returns for the Cardinals after giving the Tiger defense fits with his abilities on the ground last season. At times Cunningham’s play reminded me of Lamar Jackson’s antics n Death Valley in his duel with Deshaun Watson. Nonetheless, Clemson managed to survive, handing Louisville another painful loss to the Tigers, a team they’ve still never beaten after seven attempts.

Jaylynn Nash/ ACC
Malik Cunningham speaks with the media at the 2022 ACC Kickoff in Charlotte.

Cunningham will give the Cards a shot to end that streak in November, and he was confident at the ACC Kickoff, given how last season’s game ended. “We had no timeouts, so we had to go signal. And if you know, Clemson steals signals-- so it’s kind of hard signaling the plays, and they’ve got 60 coaches looking at the signals,” Cunningham noted.

The star quarterback went on to say that they don’t ‘blame’ the loss on that, but the game with Clemson is ‘double-circled’ and that when the two face off again, “it’s going to be a different outcome.”

4. South Carolina - November 26

There was a good feeling surrounding Shane Beamer and the Gamecocks program going into this matchup last season at Williams-Brice stadium. There were many Gamecock fans who not only thought South Carolina could keep it close but felt they were going to snap a six-game skid to their in-state rivals. As we all know, those dreams came crashing down to the tune of a 30-0 loss to the Tigers, the first shutout in the series since 1989.

If the Gamecocks are going to get it done in Death Valley this year, they’ll need to be much improved offensively. Oklahoma transfer Spencer Rattler has created a buzz that the South Carolina offense will be much improved. Still, time will tell if the Gamecocks will have enough offensive juice to press a deep and talented Tiger defense. 

5. Syracuse - October 22

Something has felt off about the Orange since Dino Babers took them to a 10-3 season and a near upset of the eventual national champion Tigers in Death Valley in 2018. The offense has been in a years-long struggle, and the defense has been up and down. However, Syracuse does have some of their best talent since Babers took over in 2016, and the schedule shapes up nicely for them to have some momentum heading into the Clemson game in late October. 

6. Furman and Louisiana Tech - September 10 & 17

Not much to say here. Clemson gets a few tuneup games following their neutral-site opener against Georgia Tech in Atlanta and should have an opportunity to firmly establish who the starting quarterback will be headed into their game against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem on September 24. 

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Schedule Rankings Part I: Home Games

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