When looking at Clemson’s schedule there do not seem to be many pitfalls.
However, there are two that standout … at Texas A&M on Sept. 8 in College Station, Texas and then at Florida State on Oct. 27. Coincidently, it’s Jimbo Fisher’s new team and his old team that could spoil Clemson’s party plans for the College Football Playoff.
A lot of Clemson fans have placed a check mark in the win column on Sept. 8, and that could be a little premature. Sure the Aggies are coming off a disappointing 7-6 season in 2017, but the last time I checked, winning at Kyle Field is never easy for an opposing team, especially for one who does not come west too often.
The last time a Clemson team played at Texas A&M it got hammered as Charlie Whitehurst’s led Tigers were beat 27-6 that hot September evening in 2004. Granted those Tigers were not as talented as this year’s bunch and Dabo Swinney will surely have his team ready to play, but the Aggies have two advantages you have to consider … one is their home field and the other is its head coach.
Obviously, Fisher is very familiar with Clemson. In his eight years in Tallahassee his teams were 4-4 against the Tigers. He will use a good part of fall camp getting ready for Clemson because, like the Tigers, they open the year against a cupcake in Northwestern State.
To further add intrigue to the game, the Aggies start the season on Thursday, Aug. 30, giving them two extra days to prepare for a Clemson team that will most likely be ranked one or two in the country when it comes to Kyle Field.
Also consider this, the Aggies return 19 starters from a year ago so they will be an experienced team that has played in big games. Maybe not the kind of games Clemson has played in, but experienced nonetheless.
The Seminoles don’t return 19 starters, but let’s not kid ourselves here they have plenty of talent in Tallahassee. Fisher’s last team may have quit on him after injuries and tough losses early in the year derailed what was supposed to be a good season, but there was plenty of talent at Florida State and there still is.
The question is how fast will new head coach Willie Taggart and his high-tempo offense, with all of those athletes, get things turned around? It may take a few weeks for the Seminoles to get things going, but by the time the Tigers roll into town on Oct. 27, the offense should be running smoothly.
There are some questions on defense this year as they have to replace eight starters, but the offense will more than likely give it time to find its way before the Clemson game. Also, did I mention there is a lot of talent in Tallahassee?
Let’s keep in mind Tallahassee has never been an easy place for Clemson to play, no matter how talented the Tigers have been. Clemson is 4-12 all-time a Florida State, including just two wins there since the Seminoles joined the ACC in 1992 (2-11).
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