We have all heard the saying the next game is the most important game. Every week this fall we will hear that from coach Swinney and the players.
Fortunately we aren’t players so we can take a look at which games are the most important in the 2012 season. Today we give you the three most important games for the Tigers as they look to improve on last season’s ten win season.
1. South Carolina
There is no question that the most important game for coach Swinney and the Tigers is the November 24 rival game with South Carolina. The Gamecocks have won three in a row and that just doesn’t happen in this series. Two of those losses have come with the Tigers looking ahead to the ACC Championship.
Hopefully the Tigers will be headed back to Charlotte for another ACC Championship, but that won’t matter as Clemson will need to take care of business in Death Valley against South Carolina first. The Tigers should not lose any home games this season, but they sure can’t afford to fall in the annual chicken kicking.
Simply put, the 2012 season will not be a success unless it includes a win over South Carolina.
2. Florida State
The second biggest game of the season comes on September 22 when the Tigers travel to Florida State. The game is the first ACC game of the season for the Tigers and the most important. The winner of this game will take command of the Atlantic Division early.
A win in Tallahassee won’t assure the Tigers a trip back to Charlotte for the ACC Championship but it will make the road a lot easier. In 2010 the Tigers should have left with a victory at Florida State, but a late field goal gave the victory to the Noles.
As usual Florida State is getting a lot of preseason accolades from the media. That is just fine for the Tigers as they will benefit from heading to Tallahassee with a chip on their shoulder.
Clemson should have won the last three games against Auburn, but only managed to win last season’s victory in Death Valley. Atlanta has not been friendly to Clemson. Any mention of the Alabama game makes many fans break out in hives.
This year’s opening game will set the tone for the entire season. If Clemson wants to be a national power this is a game they must win. The ESPN spin machine will be hard at work talking up the other Tigers. The best way for Clemson to gain some respect is to go to Atlanta and start the season with a win over an SEC team.
We don’t expect Sammy Watkins to play in this game, but that is no excuse for the Tigers not to win.
This is not the 2010 Auburn Tigers, who Clemson should have beaten none the less. Clemson is the better team. Now they must go to Atlanta and prove it.