Reloaded: Clemson Tigers 2018 Schedule Analysis

Reloaded: Clemson Tigers 2018 Schedule Analysis
CLEMSON, SC - Members of the Clemson football team touch Howard's Rock before running down the hill before the Clemson Spring Football game on April 14, 2018, at Clemson Memorial Stadium in Clemson, SC. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Reloaded: Clemson Tigers 2018 Schedule Analysis

The Clemson Tigers are the Alabama of the ACC and by that, it is that everyone is gunning for them. Every team wants to be the one to bring them down. They are also like Alabama in the fact that they are hard to beat and their depth is unmatched. The Tigers make their opponents play harder. Dabo Swinney has built a championship program with a rock solid foundation. Clemson has talented and National Championship-winning athletes. The return of Austin Bryant, Christian Wilkins, and Clelin Ferrell under defensive coordinator Brent Venables should give offensive coordinators plenty of sleepless nights. Clemson will be playing the 2018 season with the hopes of making it to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.

Game 1: Furman vs. Clemson, September 1st 

12:20 pm ET, ACC Network,  Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC

Furman is similar to playing like Georgia Tech with their triple-option offense. They are a very disciplined team. This should be a good test for Clemson, a chance to expose any weaknesses and tweak before their stout ACC schedule. The Tigers are preparing for Furman like they do every team, with an attention to detail. It will be a great game to test both Tiger quarterbacks, Kelly Bryant and Trevor Lawrence. Every year, an FCS team beats a Power Five team, although it is usually NDSU. It is worth noting, Furman made it to the second round of FCS playoffs last year. Clemson cannot let its guard down.

Game 2: Clemson at Texas A&M, September 8th

7:00 pm ET, ESPN, Kyle Field, College Station, TX

The Tigers and the Aggies have played each other only four times: 1973, 1974, 2004, and 2005, and the Aggies lead the series 3-1. Yet, this is a special game, as they will face their old foe, Jimbo Fisher. This may be his first season at A&M, but Kevin Sumlin left A&M with a plump roster. The Tigers should have a slight advantage over the Aggies with their familiarity with Fisher. Ultimately, Jimbo knows what to expect with Swinney and Venables, but he has had less time with these athletes which can leave a lot of question marks, especially in the second game of the season. It will be a challenging game for the Tigers, Kyle Field is not friendly to visiting teams.

Game 3: Georgia Southern vs. Clemson, September 15th

3:30 pm ET, Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC

The Eagles have a new offensive coordinator, Bob Debesse. While Debesse was at New Mexico, he led a top-ten rushing offense for five of his six seasons, although the Eagles only won two games last year. Anything should be an improvement for them. This will be a good game for Clemson to tweak their defense against the second of the three triple-threat teams they face this season.The Eagles should put up a good fight with their new offense, but they will be no match for the Tigers.

Game 4: Clemson at Georgia Tech, September 22nd

TBA, Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA

Georgia Tech is always a tough game as head coach Paul Johnson is hard to beat. He is an established coach with a tough triple-option offense. Venables seems to have figured out all of Johnson’s tricks, and his stocked defense will be ready for the Yellow Jackets. Johnson will have a chip on his shoulder since he has not beat Clemson since 2014. No matter the outcome, it will be a good fight for the Tigers.

Game 5:  Syracuse vs. Clemson, September 29th

TBA, Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC

The Battle of The Orange… Clemson will likely be holding a grudge after the loss last year. The Orangemen are a well-coached team, and Dino Babers will have his team ready to go. Their win last year will have Syracuse amped up as they try to take down Clemson in Death Valley. Fun Fact: Babers’ Orangemen run the most plays per game in the country, with an average of 85 plays per game. That being said, Clemson averages about 72 plays per game. This will be a fast-paced and exciting game for both fan bases.

Game 6: Clemson at Wake Forest, October 6th

TBA, BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, NC

Wake Forest has good football schemes and always play some great football, which makes up for a loss of talent over the offseason. The Tigers will need to stay disciplined and focused against a very well-coached Wake Forest team. The Demon Deacons will capitalize on any Clemson misstep. Dave Clawson and his staff will have their team ready to take on the ACC powerhouse; they will make Clemson work for every point.

Game 7: North Carolina State at Clemson, October 20th

TBA, Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC

North Carolina State has put a scare into the Tigers the last two meetings. Their offense is multi-faceted and fast. However, their defensive line is brand new this season. They are not nearly as powerful as Clemson, but they are a tough ball club. N.C. State will not go down without a fight. The Death Valley home crowd will be the tipping point for the Tigers.

Game 8: Clemson at Florida State, October 27th

TBA, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL

This will be a great rivalry game. Clemson will be facing a brand new FSU, a new coach in Willie Taggart, and new offenses and defenses. Although let’s be honest – it is still FSU. The Seminoles always field an athletic and talented team, and they are loaded with talent.   Clemson has to respect that talent. The Tigers will be ready for an intense and physical game. The Doak Campbell home crowd will be rocking against the Tigers.

Game 9: Louisville at Clemson, November 3rd

TBA, Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC

Louisville is 0-4 against the Tigers. With Lamar Jackson gone, the chances of Louisville running off the field with a win are slim. Louisville has several holes to fill after last season, and they seem to be a bit out of control as a team. In any event, Bobby Petrino with his sharp offensive mind will have a trick or two up his sleeve to keep Clemson guessing.

Game 10: Clemson at Boston College, November 10th

TBA, Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA

Who remembers that tie of 7-7 in the fourth quarter last season? Boston College had Clemson on the ropes. They could very well do the same this season. The Eagles are a tough team to beat at home and are extremely disciplined. They run two tight ends in a pro-style offense, with lots of play action. Boston College will punch them in the mouth; they are physical and relentless. It will be a tough fight for The Tigers, one of their toughest game of the season.

Game 11: Duke at Clemson, November 17th

TBA, Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC

The Duke football program has been on the upturn under head coach David Cutcliffe. Yet they lack the depth on offense and defense to compete with the likes of Clemson. The Tigers have a deep and talented roster. The last time Duke played Clemson was 2012, and they were routed 56-20. This game should be a good chance for the Clemson backups to get some reps.

Game 12: South Carolina at Clemson, November 24th

TBA, Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC

This is a typical in-state rivalry game. We all know that hate is mutual. The Gamecocks are improving under Will Muschamp. However, the Gamecocks and the Tigers will make it personal. It is a championship game as Clemson will come out swinging in order to protect their in-state bragging rights. Death Valley will be a hard field for the Gamecocks to pull off an upset.

Play It Again, Dabo

There is absolutely no reason that the Clemson Tigers can’t go undefeated this season. This Clemson team is a deep, senior-led roster with championship experience. They play with confidence and discipline. Swinney has done an amazing job making sure these coaches and players never overlook a team. Their attention to detail with game prep is above and beyond anyone else in the ACC. They will be a target for everyone on their schedule, as every team wants to be the one to take them down. The 2018 Tigers are a well-coached, humble, and hard-working team  It will be an exciting team to watch this season.


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