SARASOTA, Fla. — Earlier this week, Georgia announced it will play Oklahoma in a home-and-home series, giving the Bulldogs 31 games against non-conference Power 5 opponents over the next 15 years.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart says every program should follow the Bulldogs’ lead. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, says he isn’t worried about what everybody else is doing, he just worries about his own program.
As for the Tigers, they’re already doing it and have been playing opponents from other Power 5 conferences for a while now.
In fact, Clemson has 30 games scheduled against non-conference Power 5 opponents over the next 15 years and has 35 scheduled through 2037 with a few dates open to add some more. Besides playing South Carolina every year, the Tigers already have future home-and-home series, and a neutral site game set, against LSU, Notre Dame, Georgia and Oklahoma.
Of course, the second game of the year’s schedule will be against Texas A&M. Last year, Clemson went to College Station, Texas and beat the Aggies by two points at Kyle Field.
“I know that is what we have done for ten years,” Swinney said prior to Friday’s 14th Annual Dick Vitale Gala in Sarasota, Fla. “We play our conference, which I think is a real challenge. We have always played South Carolina. Then its been Auburn, Texas A&M, Georgia, Notre Dame and whoever.”
Clemson changed its approach to scheduling when Swinney took over as its head coach in 2009. He went to then athletic director Terry Don Phillips and asked if they could schedule more home-and-home games against non-conference Power 5 opponents.
It has always been Swinney’s philosophy to play the best teams they can so his teams can compete with some of the best in college football.
Eight straight 10-win seasons and two national championship later, it has proven to be a good philosophy.
“So, to me, that is definitely what it takes to get your team ready, but to also have the credibility you need to have with the (College Football Playoff) committee when you got people voting. You have to play people and we have done that for ten years.”
And Clemson is going to keep doing that for at least another 18 years.