A former Clemson standout weighed in on the Tigers’ 2023 football schedule after it was announced on Monday.
Eric Mac Lain, the former All-ACC offensive lineman who is now an analyst for the ACC Network, gave his initial reaction to the schedule beginning with his thoughts on the Labor Day season opener against Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, N.C. (Monday, Sept. 4).
“I’m excited about it,” Mac Lain said on the Gramlich & Mac Lain show with fellow Clemson alum Kelly Gramlich. “It’s on a Monday night, so Clemson again playing back-to-back years on Monday night, not at home, traveling somewhere else. So, it’s going to be in Wallace Wade. The interesting thing that I want to see is how blue is that stadium? Because I know Clemson fans are going to find a way. I remember my times, which it was very different. Those teams were so bad when we played Duke at Duke. It was Clemson, it was orange everywhere, and so how do those guys show up? Ticket sales have to be through the roof. Duke has to be very excited about that.
“And we’re going to find out very quickly about the Blue Devils, I think. How good can they be? Because we think that they’re going to be a pretty fun little team, and this will be a great litmus test and also a good litmus test for Clemson as well, traveling to an environment that isn’t crazy or isn’t the biggest or most ruckus. But you’ve got to be ready because they’ve got a great quarterback, have a lot of guys coming back, a really explosive offense that can test especially some things that we saw from Clemson this past season. So, really interested to see that.”
Following the season opener at Duke, Clemson will play its home opener vs. Charleston Southern on Sept. 9 before hosting Florida Atlantic and Florida State at Death Valley on Sept. 16 and Sept. 23, respectively.
Like a lot of others, Mac Lain thinks that contest against the Seminoles will be a preview of the ACC Championship Game, which will feature the top two teams based on winning percentage now that the conference has dropped divisional play.
“I think everybody has that Florida State game circled,” Mac Lain said. “I think we’re going to see that twice.”
Clemson’s final three home games of the 2023 season will take place in three straight weeks in November – Notre Dame on Nov. 4, Georgia Tech on Nov. 11 and North Carolina on Nov. 18 – a stretch that Mac Lain sees as significant for the Tigers.
“That run with Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, North Carolina all at home, that’s going to be a really, really important, very impactful stretch for Clemson to end the season,” he said.
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