Instant analysis: good times continue for Clemson as ACC revevals 2013 opponents

CLEMSON – Did we mention Clemson was having a good offseason – outside of the DeAndre Hopkins departure – earlier this week?

Clemson returns one of the nation’s top offensive coaches in Chad Morris.

Clemson returns perhaps its top quarterback in program history in Tajh Boyd.

And on Friday the offseason got even better for Clemson: the ACC revealed Clemson’s 2013 conference opponents.

Clemson gets Florida State and Georgia Tech, its two toughest ACC opponents, at home along with Wake Forest and Boston College. Clemson has a very favorable road schedule traveling to Syracuse, N.C. State, Virginia and Maryland.

Florida State is Clemson’s only 2013 ACC opponent to finish ranked in 2012. Only four teams on Clemson’s conference schedule – FSU, GT, ‘Cuse and N.C. State – finished with non-losing records in 2012.

I can’t imagine a more favorable ACC schedule for Clemson. Particularly the road schedule. For some reason Clemson is hosting Georgia Tech’s triple option in back-to-back years. (I’m sure they’re thrilled about that in Atlanta.) Yes, Syracuse was a nice story in 2012 but it is losing its head coach Doug Marrone and its starting quarterback. N.C. State loses starting quarterback Mike Glennon and is breaking a new coach. Maryland …will the Terps have a healthy quarterback?

It’s almost as if the ACC was determined to do everything it could to allow Clemson to maintain a top 10 ranking leading into the South Carolina game.

This is the perfect schedule for Clemson. The Tigers face three quality opponents in Georgia, Florida State and South Carolina to try to build its resume upon, and then it plays nine opponents it should be heavily favored over. It’s not a week-in, week-out bloodbath like life in the SEC. It gives Clemson a chance to prove itself and then maintain an elite ranking.

This type of schedule makeup is why Clemson will continue to have a better shot to play for national titles in the ACC, than say the SEC.

Clemson has a collection of rare returning assets, players returning with upside (63 freshman and sophomore scholarship players are back in 2013), and now a favorable schedule. This is a rare window.

This should be Clemson’s best season under Dabo Swinney and perhaps the best season since the early 1980s. There can be no excuses in 2013.

10 thoughts on “Instant analysis: good times continue for Clemson as ACC revevals 2013 opponents

  1. Yes, but looking like the Atlantic Division already with Clemson / FSU will still be the dominate football division with Louisville in place of Maryland. Good fo the ACC in national perspective?

    With this change, it also means that FSU / GT will always be away games in the same year? I read GT was in favor of this so UGA / Clemson would be home / away on alternating years.

    • Dano,

      Good points. I think that’s right that GT wanted to shuffle around its schedule, which is why they are going to travel to Clemson in back-to-back years. So it appears going forward Clemson will travel to FSU and GT in the same years. (Clemson will travel to Georgia, FSU and Georgia Tech in 2014 — that’s tough).

      I agree the balance of power in the ACC is shifting from the Coastal to the Atlantic. Virginia Tech is in something of a decline, FSU and Clemson are rising and now Louisville will be added, which should be a factor as long as Strong is there.

  2. Looks like Chad Kelly ought to get lots of playing time next year, even with Boyd coming back….should be good for his development

    • It’s hard to say. If the 2012 season was any indication, it looks like Morris (and by extension, Dabo) is fine promising players records and leaving the starters in long enough to destroy the offensive numbers. Cole Stoudt only had 39 attempts this year.

      • Andy,

        I do expect Kelly to surpass Stoudt on the depth as the staff will want to get him some game experience as he’s the quarterback of the future (at least until/if Watson gets on campus).

        But Matt is correct to wonder just how many snaps Kelly will get? The staff did inflate some numbers in garbage time last year to get players to some individual statistical benchmarks.

        I think that might be less of an issue in 2013 as Boyd already holds a number of career marks, and I think they should be smarter with his useage. He can’t be combining for 79 throws/runs too often. He’s too valuable to risk when the game’s are no longer in doubt.

  3. Love, love, love the schedule. The only thing that could make the schedule any more favorable would be an extended break (i.e. Thursday night game) or a bye week before the FSU game to give more prep time for the only ACC competition. And with an extra week built into the season this year, there are two byes, making the chances of getting one before FSU even greater than normal.

    Assuming Clemson can split the UGA/SC games (preferably dropping UGA of the two), they’re not far off from already securing a BCS bowl spot barring something catastrophic.

  4. I read that Ga Tech was on board with this. Can’t recall exact reason, something to do with playing Clemson & Ga at home in opposite years. They didn’t want Ga & Clemson both be away games every other year.

  5. for once, I agree with Travis100%. NO MORE EXCUSES.

    Dabo claimed immediately after the Peach Bowl that he had a National Championship caliber team. Well, time to put up or shut up.

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