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Clemson Football

Schedule Rankings Part II: Road Games

August 1, 2022
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Welcome to part two of our schedule rankings! Yesterday we took a quick look at Clemson’s home slate ahead of the 2022 season. Today, we take a look at the Tigers’ road matchups, ranking the games by difficulty.

1. Notre Dame - November 7

This is the easiest pick of these previews-- no question. Notre Dame should be favored to win all, but maybe two of their games in 2022 and is a great bet to be in the Top 10-15 with no more than one loss in November when Clemson rolls into town.

The Irish face-off with Ohio State to start the season will be a great barometer for the team that Marcus Freeman now leads, and there would be no shame in dropping that one. This should be one of the biggest must-watch games of the 2022 football season as a whole, as long as the Irish and Tigers can both live up to expectations.

2. Wake Forest - September 24

Wake Forest managed to steal the ACC Atlantic crown away from Clemson last season, despite losing to the Tigers by three touchdowns in Death Valley. Wake Forest will bring back quarterback Sam Hartman, who had an incredible redshirt-sophomore season for the Deacs, throwing for over 4,000 yards and 39 touchdowns. Wake Forest’s explosive offense under Dave Clawson can score on anyone, but their defense needs to improve if they want to hold onto their division crown. 

3. Florida State - October 15

It’s crazy to think that the Seminoles could fall behind Wake Forest in a ranking of most difficult games. It’s tough to fathom, but that’s what happens when you’re a program that loses to Jacksonville State.

To their credit, Florida State rallied in the year's second half and needed only one win to make a bowl game.

"As we went through this last season and you see the growth, the development really setting a foundation and the relationships that were built throughout those experiences and the great number of guys that we have coming back for this season and some of the new additions that we've been able to bring in our program,” Mike Norvell noted at the ACC Kickoff. ”Even last year in times of maybe some disappointing results, the belief and the buy-in of where we're going is something that has our players, has our coaches, has our entire program excited for what the future holds.”

The schedule isn’t forgiving with LSU and Florida in the non-conference, but this has the feel of a make-or-break year for Mike Norvell’s squad. 

Clemson Sports Talk
Jeff Hafley sits down with our very own Lawton Swann at the ACC Kickoff in Charlotte.

 

4. Boston College - October 8

Boston College has proven to be a sneaky solid team so far under third-year head coach Jeff Hafley. They’ve given the Tigers fits the past two times they’ve played and now finally get a crack at the Tigers in Chestnut Hill after playing the past two games in Death Valley due to COVID scheduling.

Quarterback Phil Jurkovec will be one of the better signal callers in the league, and the Eagles have a real shot to throw a wrench into the ACC Atlantic race. 

“This is what everybody needs to realize about Phil, and people forget, last year at this time, Phil's here, and everybody's talking about possibly the No. 1 pick in the draft as a quarterback. Phil played one game last year healthy, the opener against Colgate, and he barely played in the game because it was like 50-0 in the third quarter, so we took him out,” Hafley told ClemsonSportsTalk.com at the ACC Kickoff. “Phil gets hurt in the first drive or second drive, the UMass game, then Phil’s out, Phil comes back with the 50% grip strength in his throwing hand and comes in my office and tells me he wants to play.”

Fortunately, extremely cold temperatures shouldn’t factor in an early October matchup, but Hafley’s squad will be ready.

5. Georgia Tech (Mercedes-Benz Stadium) - September 5

This may not be the third toughest away (or neutral) site game for the Tigers, but it’s definitely one of the most important. This will be the first opportunity Clemson gets to see a new slimmed-down D.J. Uiagalelei and will get to see just how improved he is coming off of a tough last season. Not to mention, former Clemson QB Tiasun Phommachanh could play in this game for Georgia Tech-- adding additional intrigue.

Like many teams last season, the Yellow Jackets pushed Clemson right to the end. I’d imagine they will feel confident about the contest coming into this one. 

 

To wrap up, I’ll throw my overall game rankings out for all 12 regular season games.

The Overall Ranking:

1. Notre Dame

2. NC State

3. Miami (FL)

4. Wake Forest

5. Louisville

6. Florida State 

7. Boston College

8. South Carolina

9. Georgia Tech

10. Syracuse

11. Louisiana Tech & Furman

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Schedule Rankings Part II: Road Games

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