Rival fan bases and some writers are ripping Clemson’s 2020 football schedule.
Some are saying it is softer than “Pampers Baby Wipes,” others are saying the Atlantic Coast Conference is protecting its marquis team. Rival fan bases are going on sports radio shows calling it a “cupcake schedule.”
Besides the ACC protecting its best team, which is a ridiculous thought, they may have a point about the Tigers’ strength of schedule in 2020, but is that Clemson’s fault? Is it Clemson’s fault that Florida State has slipped in recent years?
Also, does it matter if Clemson’s schedule appears easy? Hasn’t Clemson, of all programs, proven itself enough on the national stage that it should not matter who they play?
The criticism of Clemson’s schedule is unwarranted. The Tigers can’t control who they play in the conference. They are playing who the ACC says they have to play. By the way, they are playing the same six divisional games they have always played, as well as cross-divisional rival Georgia Tech, who they play every year.
Then they are playing Virginia, who has been scheduled by the ACC to visit Death Valley this coming season before the Tigers even began their historic run. By the way, Virginia is the defending Coastal Division Champs and was clearly the second-best team in the conference last year. So, what’s the problem with playing the Cavaliers?
Also, they play Louisville, who won eight games in 2019 and finished second behind Clemson in the Atlantic Division and brings virtually everyone back from last year’s team.
SEC writers and some of their fan bases are also criticizing Clemson’s non-conference schedule, too. They mention the Tigers are playing Akron and The Citadel. However, they conveniently leave out the fact Clemson travels to Notre Dame on Nov. 7. The Irish have a good chance to be an undefeated and top 10 team by the time the Tigers make it to South Bend.
Then of course, Clemson ends the regular season against archrival South Carolina. Clemson has played this same kind of non-conference schedule since Dabo Swinney became the head coach in 2009. A home-and-home with a Power 5 team, South Carolina, a Group of 5 team and an FCS team from the state of South Carolina.
For those rival fans who have been critical of Clemson’s non-conference schedule, let’s look at South Carolina’s. The Gamecocks face FCS foe Wofford on Nov. 21 and host Group of 5 teams Coastal Carolina on Sept. 5 and East Carolina on Sept. 12. The only tough non-SEC game it has is against Clemson.
And let’s be honest. The Gamecocks, in 2019, were part of the reason why people criticized Clemson’s schedule last year. South Carolina went 4-8 last season. Also, Texas A&M had a mediocre year, which the Tigers had no control of.
Playing home-and-home non-conference series against Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Auburn and Georgia in recent years is better than playing Georgia State, Kent State and UT-Martin, which is who Alabama plays in non-conference games in 2020. No one is bringing that up.
Yes, the Crimson Tide plays Southern Cal in the season-opener. However, it’s not in Los Angeles. They play them in Arlington, Texas … a neutral site game. When was the last time Alabama went on the road and played a true road game against another Power 5 Conference team?
Clemson does it every other year.
Also, don’t give me “they have to play in the tough SEC week in and week out” crap either. LSU, with the exception of the Alabama and Auburn games, steamrolled through the conference last season. In 2018, Alabama set an SEC record for margin of victory in its eight regular season games against SEC foes, winning by an average of 30-plus points per game. That is no different than what Clemson has done in the ACC.
So, criticize Clemson’s schedule all you want. The Tigers don’t have to prove themselves to anyone. Ask Alabama. Ask Ohio State. Ask Oklahoma. Ask Notre Dame.
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