First time since 1985: Clemson opens, closes a season on the road

First time since 1985: Clemson opens, closes a season on the road


First time since 1985: Clemson opens, closes a season on the road


Also, first time since 1969 the Tigers do it against ACC foes

Clemson’s revised 2020 football schedule was released Thursday by the Atlantic Coast Conference, and there are some differences in the schedule when compared to what was released in January prior to COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time since 1985, Clemson will open and close the regular season with road games. The Tigers are now scheduled to open the season on Sept. 12 at Wake Forest and will close the year at Virginia Tech on Dec. 5.

Coincidentally, Clemson opened the 1985 season at Virginia Tech.

This season will also mark the first time since 1969, Clemson will open and close a regular season against ACC competition. It also happens to be the last time the Tigers opened and closed a regular season on the road against conference foes.

In 1969, the Tigers opened the year at Virginia and finished the season at South Carolina. The Gamecocks were members of the ACC at the time.

The Tigers close the season with three of their last four games on the road and arguably the three toughest road games on the schedule … at Notre Dame (Nov. 7), at Florida State (Nov. 21) and at Virginia Tech (Dec. 5). They also play Pittsburgh at home on Nov. 28 during that stretch.

Clemson still has not announced who its one non-conference game will be against, but it is scheduled to be played on Sept. 19, according to what the ACC released. The Tigers were originally scheduled to play Akron on Sept. 19.

As you know, Clemson’s annual rivalry game with South Carolina was canceled by the SEC when it announced its member schools will play 10 conference-only games in 2020. That game was supposed to conclude the regular season on Nov. 28, the Tigers will now host Pitt on that day.

This year marks the first time since the 2006 game that Clemson and South Carolina have not played on Thanksgiving Weekend and the first time since 2001 Clemson has not closed its regular season against its rival.

Only two items on the revised 2020 schedule are still the same as it was originally scheduled for the 2020 season. Clemson is still scheduled to host Syracuse on Oct. 24 and visit Notre Dame on Nov. 7. The open date that was originally scheduled in between those two games, which was scheduled on Halloween, has now been filled with a home game against Boston College.

The Tigers were originally scheduled to play at Boston College on Friday, Oct. 2. Being it is playing two less games than originally scheduled, Clemson has open dates on Oct. 26, when it was originally scheduled to play Virginia, and on Nov. 14, when it was supposed to play The Citadel in a non-conference game.

Clemson will open the year at Wake Forest on Sept. 12, a day when Clemson was originally scheduled to host Louisville. Also, the Tigers were initially supposed to open the 2020 season at Georgia Tech on Sept. 3 and were scheduled to play at Wake Forest on Nov. 21.

After opening the 2019 season against Georgia Tech, the new season-opener still marks the first time Clemson has opened with an ACC foe in back-to-back years since a five-season stretch of in-conference season openers across the 1965-’69 seasons.

Clemson will open the season against an ACC opponent for only the 14th time since the conference’s founding in 1953. Clemson is 10-2-1 against ACC opponents in Week 1 contests all-time, including a 52-14 home win against Georgia Tech last season.

The Tigers have won the last 11 meetings against Wake Forest.

After its open date on Sept. 26, Clemson will host Virginia on Oct. 3 at Death Valley. This is a rematch of the 2019 ACC Championship Game. The Tigers have won their last four meetings against the Cavaliers.

Clemson added a home date with the Miami Hurricanes on Oct. 10, representing the teams’ first regular season meeting since 2015. That year, Clemson handed Miami its worst loss in program history, a 58-0 road victory for the Tigers.

The teams met in the 2017 ACC Championship Game, as Clemson earned its 17th all-time ACC title with a 38-3 victory in Charlotte.

In a unique ACC season without divisional play, Clemson retained its annual matchup with usual cross-division foe Georgia Tech, as the Tigers and Yellow Jackets will face each other in Atlanta on Oct. 17. The Tigers are in the midst of a five-game winning streak against Georgia Tech for the first time in series history and will attempt to win a third straight game at Georgia Tech for the first time in program annals.

The next week, Syracuse will make its first trip to Death Valley since Clemson’s memorable 27-23 come-from-behind victory that helped propel Clemson to a 15-0 record and a national championship in 2018. Clemson is 6-2 against Syracuse all-time, including a 3-0 home record.

As previously mentioned, Clemson will host Boston College on Oct. 31. Last season, Clemson produced one of its most dominant performances of 2019 against Boston College, outgaining the Eagles, 674-177. The 497-yard differential was Clemson’s largest yardage differential against an ACC opponent since the conference’s founding in 1953, surpassing a 464-yard advantage against Wake Forest in 2000.

The Tigers then head to South Bend, Ind., the next week. It will mark Clemson’s first game at Notre Dame since its come-from-behind, 16-10, victory over the Irish in 1979. The Tigers have won three straight meetings against Notre Dame.

After another week off, Clemson will head to Tallahassee, Fla., on Nov. 21 to face Florida State. The Tigers look to continue their recent run of hot starts in the series.

The Tigers carried a 28-0 lead into halftime in both Clemson’s 59-10 win in Tallahassee in 2018 and 45-14 win in Clemson in 2019. In the last two games between the two programs, Clemson has combined to post a 56-0 edge in points, a 614-128 advantage in total yards and a 35-10 advantage in first downs in the first half.

Clemson will host Pittsburgh on Nov. 28, the first meeting the two programs have had since the Tigers’ 45-10 victory in the 2018 ACC Championship Game. This will be Clemson’s regular-season finale at Death Valley.

Finally, the Tigers will close the regular season at Virginia Tech, which will represent Clemson’s latest regular season finale in school history, including only its second regular season contest in December in program annals. Clemson closed the 2001 regular season with a 59-31 win against Duke on Dec. 1, 2001.

Clemson has won each of its last five meetings with Virginia Tech, dating back to 2011, a year in which the Tigers earned two victories against the Hokies, including a 23-3 road win and a 38-10 victory in the 2011 ACC Championship Game.

The Tigers also beat Virginia Tech, 31-17, in the 2017 game in Blacksburg, Va.

The 2020 ACC Football Championship Game will be contested Dec. 12 or 19 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Below is Clemson’s revised 2020 football schedule:

Sept. 12  at Wake Forest

Sept. 19 vs. Non-conference

Sept. 26  Open Date

Oct. 3 vs. Virginia

Oct. 10 vs. Miami

Oct. 17  at Georgia Tech

Oct. 24 vs. Syracuse

Oct. 31 vs. Boston College

Nov. 7 at Notre Dame

Nov. 14  Open date

Nov. 21 at Florida State

Nov. 28 vs. Pitt

Dec 5. at Virginia Tech

Clemson Athletic Communications contributed to this story

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