Ranking the Tigers’ 2020 football schedule
The Atlantic Coast conference released Clemson’s 2020 football schedule on Wednesday.
The Tigers will play six teams that played in a bowl game in 2019, but just four of those teams had winning records. Notre Dame led the way as an 11-win team, while Virginia went 9-4. Louisville and Wake Forest both finished the season 8-5.
Below is a ranking of Clemson’s 2020 games, from best to worst.
- at Notre Dame (Nov. 7): This will be the Tigers’ and the Irish’s first meeting since Clemson beat Notre Dame in the 2019 Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas. Clemson has won three straight games in the series. The Tigers last played at Notre Dame in 1979, a 16-10 Clemson victory. The Irish last beat Clemson in 1977. Both teams have a very good chance to come into this game undefeated and ranked in the top 10 or possibly the top 5. The Irish went 11-2 last year and finished No. 12 in the final AP Poll.
- South Carolina (Nov. 28): Clemson is looking to make history when it hosts the Gamecocks at Death Valley in the regular season finale. Clemson can tie its own mark of seven straight victories in the series. The Tigers won a series record seven straight games over South Carolina from 1934-’40. South Carolina finished last year 4-8 and missed a bowl game for the second time in five years.
- at Georgia Tech (Sept. 3): Clemson has won five straight over Georgia Tech and seven of the last eight overall in the series. Normally, this game would not be ranked this high, but it is the season opener and it will be played on a Thursday night. The anticipation of a new season will make this a much-watch game. Georgia Tech was 3-9 last year and 2-6 in the ACC.
- Louisville (Sept. 12): This is Clemson’s home opener. This game used to be the most competitive matchup in the ACC. Clemson has won all six meetings, dating back to the 2014 season when Louisville joined the conference. The first three meetings were decided by a combined total of 15 points, including a classic 42-36 win by the Tigers in 2016. However, Clemson has won the last three meetings by 26, 61 and 35 points. The Cardinals did bounce back from a horrible season in 2018 and went 8-5 under first-year head coach Scott Satterfield. Louisville finished second in the ACC Atlantic Division with a 5-3 conference record.
- at Florida State (Oct. 10): Florida State has a new football coach in Mike Norvell, who comes to Tallahassee from Memphis where he had a lot of success. The Seminoles will be a better team and it is not likely the Tigers will beat them by 49 points in Tallahassee like they did in 2018. Clemson has won five straight in the series and is looking for a third straight victory at Doak Campbell Stadium. FSU went 6-7 overall and 4-4 in the ACC in 2019.
- Virginia (Sept. 26): This is a rematch of last year’s ACC Championship Game, a game the Tigers won easily, 62-17, in Charlotte. The Tigers’ 62 points were the most ever scored by a Clemson team in the series, and their 45-point margin of victory was the fifth largest in a series Clemson leads 39-9-1. The Tigers have won the last four meetings in the series, all under head coach Dabo Swinney and have won the last two by 49 and 45 points. Virginia finished last season 9-4 overall and 6-2 in the ACC.
- at Boston College (Oct. 2): This will be a Friday night game in Boston, and it will probably be a little chilly. The Eagles will have a new head in Jeff Hafley, who is very familiar with Clemson. He was the defensive coordinator for Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, a game Clemson won 29-23 to advance to the national championship game. BC went 6-7 last year and was 4-4 in the ACC. Clemson has won nine straight over the Eagles and 11 of the last 12 in the series.
- NC State (Oct. 17): Dave Doeren’s team was decimated by injuries last season and was a shell of who they were the previous three seasons when they won nine games each year. The Wolfpack was not even competitive with Clemson in Raleigh last season. They finished the season 4-8 overall and 1-7 in the ACC, which ranked last in the Atlantic Division. Clemson has won eight straight in the series and 15 of the last 16.
- at Wake Forest (Nov. 21): The best part about playing at Wake Forest is the Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Wake lost its best quarterback to the transfer portal, while all of its other significant players graduated. The Demon Deacons are coming off an 8-5 record last year (4-4 ACC) but key losses in personnel will make it hard for them to duplicate that success. Clemson has won 11 straight games in the series and 13 of the last 14 meetings.
- Syracuse (Oct. 24): Last year was a definite drop off for Dino Babers and the Orange. After going 10-3 in 2018, Syracuse slipped to 5-7 and missed on a bowl game. The Orange was just 2-6 in ACC play. Clemson has won 6 of the 7 games the two teams have played since the Orange joined the ACC in 2013.
- The Citadel (Nov. 14): This will likely be the Military Appreciation Day game, which makes it a little more appealing. There will be a lot of festivities and The Citadel, with its rich military history and traditions, will make it a good day at Death Valley. As for the game, not so much. However, the Bulldogs’ triple-option offense could give the Tigers fits considering Georgia Tech no longer plays that brand of football anymore and Clemson does not see it every year like it used to. Last year, The Citadel beat Georgia Tech. In 2018 it gave Alabama fits for a half, and in 2015 it beat South Carolina. Clemson and The Citadel rivalry goes all the way back 1909. Clemson leads the series over the FCS foe 32-5-1 and has won 17 straight games in the series. The last time The Citadel beat Clemson was in 1931. Clemson has never lost to an FCS team since the FCS (formerly Division 1-AA) was formed in 1979. Clemson has not lost to a team from the SoCon since it left the conference in 1952 and joined the ACC as a charter member in 1953. The Citadel was 6-6 last year and 4-4 in the SoCon.
- Akron (Sept. 19): This will be the first ever meeting between Akron and Clemson. The Zips finished last season 0-12. This game could get real ugly fast. The good news is fans go back to tailgating and watching other games by the end of the second quarter or earlier.
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