This week, I’d like to take a look at Clemson’s football schedule and dissect it a little bit. Schedules are incredibly important to success and failure, and the Tigers are no exception to this phenomenon.
When analyzing teams, there are a number of factors to consider. Many people are careful to calculate things like team speed, experience, coaching, depth, and overall ability into the equation, which is inherently good and important. But sometimes who you play is as important as how you play, if not more so.
Many times, when addressing my thoughts on a team’s record, I need to separate the difference. The two factors combine to create an overall perception of where a team might finish this season. For example, I might say, “Such-and-such team has 11-win talent and a nine-win schedule, so they are likely to go 10-2 this season.”
The fact is that supremely talented teams do not necessarily have supremely exemplary seasons all the time. Factors like who you play, when you play, and where you play are all important in determining this portion of the predictive science we use in football.
Strength of schedule can be tricky at times, as well. Simply playing top competition doesn’t make the schedule tough, and playing a joke-caliber slate isn’t a recipe for an easy road to a championship, either.
The roster is important, but scheduling can sometimes be the difference between winning at the highest level and falling just short. It can push a team over the hump, or it can hold a team back from reaching what fans or members of the team and coaching staff think is its full potential.
If you’re wondering how I feel about Clemson’s schedule…that will be posted later. Over the next couple of days, I will rank the difficulty of games on the Tigers’ schedule from easiest to toughest, with all of the above listed factors considered. Then I will give my overall thoughts on Clemson’s record within the context of the full conversation.
Football is here, and we can’t stop it from coming, so we might as well understand what we’re watching. Get excited, people!