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.