October 7 WAKE FOREST, 13 (Fri.) at Syracuse , 21 Open Date, 28 GEORGIA TECH
November 4 at NC State, 11 FLORIDA STATE, 18 THE CITADEL, 25 at South Carolina
Clemson will have a new quarterback and will have to replace many key playmakers on offense, so having a home game against Kent State is a good way to start the season. The level of competition is strong enough to give them a taste of the season, but not as perilous as starting out against Auburn would be.
Auburn is an excellent opponent, but I am more worried about Louisville. The Auburn game is at home, while the Louisville game is away against the reigning Heisman defender – Lamar Jackson.
Boston College is a fundamentally sound team that will challenge Clemson’s offense, but they usually have not had an offense potent enough to win games against Clemson.
A brutal September schedule finishes with a trip to Virginia Tech that will test the Tigers. If Clemson can escape undefeated they can be a strong player for a playoff spot, and a new years bowl contender with one loss.
Wake Forest and Syracuse are two ACC teams that are traditionally mediocre but can pose threats if a team takes them lightly. Considering the Clemson process, it is unlikely that the Tigers will overlook these teams. An open date gives the Tigers relief halfway through the year before they finish off the month with a home date against Georgia Tech. The good news is that the Tigers can prepare more for Tech’s option game, but the bad news is that the Tigers don’t need the break to work on Georgia Tech and it would be better served against FSU.
Two underrated games start off November with a road trip to NC State and a home date against FSU that could decide the division because it is the last team Clemson plays in the ACC. The Citadel is not an easy FCS team to play, let alone before traveling to South Carolina.
The three games that stand out as potential tossups or losses are Auburn, Louisville, and Florida State. The Tigers could slip up against another opponent, but that is not a likely scenario. If the Tigers can go 2-1 in the three aforementioned games, they can be 11-1 or 10-2 and play on New Years Day. If the process continues to work and a couple of lucky breaks happen, the Tigers could play in the Playoff for a third year in a row.