Or is it because the Tigers are really good?
A lot has been said this off-season about Clemson’s 2019 football schedule and how easy it easy it for the Tigers.
Right now, Las Vegas has Clemson as a double-digit favorite in every game this season. But does that make Clemson’s schedule any easier than anyone else’s. Alabama, who won all 12 of their regular season games last year by 22 or more points, is favored by double digits in most of their games as well.
Yet, no one is coming out and saying Alabama has a weak schedule. Why is that? I think we know the answer. It’s because Alabama is so good and that would be the correct assumption.
So, if that theory works for Alabama, why does it not apply to Clemson? The Tigers are the team that beat Alabama by 28 points in the national championship game. In my opinion, that makes Clemson better than Alabama heading into the new season.
Perhaps Clemson’s schedule is considered soft because of how good Clemson is supposed to be. Last year, Clemson won its last 10 games by 20 or more points, including a 27-point win in the Cotton Bowl over a previously undefeated Notre Dame team and the aforementioned national championship game against a 14-0 Alabama team.
If you designate Clemson’s 2019 football schedule to anyone else in the ACC, it would be classified as a difficult schedule. The Tigers are the only ACC school that will face two schools from the SEC—Texas A&M and South Carolina—in non-conference games.
Clemson will face three Power Five conference opponents—Georgia Tech, Texas A&M and Syracuse— in the first three weeks of the season. It will face eight opponents that produced a winning record in 2018 and all eight of them played in a postseason game. Four of those teams won at least nine games last year, including Syracuse that won 10 games.
When breaking down the schedule even more, Texas A&M will likely be a preseason top 15 team when the season begins. Syracuse will likely be picked to finish second in the ACC’s Atlantic Division behind Clemson and should be ranked in the preseason as well.
The Tigers play three teams with new coaches in Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Louisville. They play at Syracuse, who beat them in the Carrier Dome two years ago, at NC State and at South Carolina. Those are not what anyone would call easy road games. They also host Atlantic Division rival Florida State at Death Valley.
So, when someone says Clemson’s schedule is easy, they need to take a really hard look and see why that is. In my opinion, it appears to be a more difficult schedule than people give it credit for.
Also, I think it is considered easy, not because of the opponents Clemson has to face, but because of the talent gap the Tigers have over most everyone else on the schedule.
In other words, the schedule is easy because of who Clemson is more than anything else.