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Key takeaways from Clemson’s 2023 football schedule

Matthew Mynes // Photo Editor

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney walks across the field at Bank of America Stadium before the Tiger’s 39 – 10 victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels in the 2022 ACC Champhionship.

Clemson’s entire 2023 football schedule has been released, with eight in-conference opponents and four out-of-conference. Here are five of the biggest takeaways with seven months to kickoff: 

Long stretch away from Death Valley 

There’s no place like home, but for most of the month of October, the Tigers will have to make do without running down the Hill. After playing Wake Forest on Oct. 7, Clemson has a bye week followed by two consecutive away games, meaning the team is faced with almost a month away from Death Valley. The Tigers will resume their home-field advantage on Nov. 4 against Notre Dame. 

Conversely, the month of September should be full of tailgates and Tiger Walks, as Clemson enjoys a three-week home streak against Charleston Southern, Florida Atlantic and Florida State. 

Tigers will be at home when it matters most

Although Clemson has been a consistently dominant team in the last few years, there are a few teams the Tigers have repeatedly struggled against at times. Among them are Florida State and Notre Dame

The Seminoles’ Doak S. Campbell Stadium gives them a massive home-field advantage of nearly 80,000 screaming supporters and one of the most distinct openings in college football. Although Clemson beat them in the 2022 season, it was a close call as Florida State put up 14 points in the final quarter alone. So, facing the Seminoles at home will help the Tigers’ chances, especially with ESPN ranking Florida State at No. 4 in its way-too-early Top 25 Poll.

Another home rematch will occur against the Fighting Irish, whom the Tigers lost 35-14 to in South Bend, Indiana, last season. Hosting the Irish for the third time in history, Clemson will look to maintain its 4-3 all-time record against the independent program. 

Bowl game opponents

Clemson’s schedule is chock-full of teams that had unexpected appearances and victories in last year’s bowl season. The Tigers will take on eight teams that played in bowl games in 2023, three of which also finished the season ranked in the AP Top 25 — Florida State, Notre Dame and South Carolina. 

Notre Dame, Florida State, Duke and Wake Forest came away victorious in their postseason games, while South Carolina, Syracuse, N.C. State and North Carolina walked away with losses in the aftermath of notable seasons. 

Clemson had three ranked wins last year and was ranked 9th overall in terms of schedule strength, according to ESPN’s College Football Power Index. 

With eight out of their 12 regular season opponents winning bowl games last season, the Tigers’ schedule is filled with challenges.

New ACC Championship protocol 

Now that the ACC has gotten rid of divisions, the ACC title game will be determined by the two teams with the highest winning percentage in the conference.  

In the past five seasons, Clemson holds the best ACC winning percentage at 87%. The remainder of the top five most winningest teams consists of Pittsburgh, N.C. State, Wake Forest and Miami.  

Over the past few years, Clemson has steadily remained the most dominant team in the conference. Several teams have begun establishing themselves as veritable threats, including Florida State and the greatly improved Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels.  

With a retooled offense under Garrett Riley and a changed roster, hopes are high among fans that this new model will allow the Tigers to make their eighth title-game appearance in nine years.  

Palmetto Bowl concerns 

The results of last season’s Palmetto Bowl will undeniably be a sore point for years to come. Under the new leadership of head coach Shane Beamer and emergent quarterback Spencer Rattler, the Gamecocks came away victorious against Clemson for the first time since 2013. 

The 31-30 loss also ended the Tigers’ 40-game home win streak, the longest active streak in college football at the time. As the location of the game alternates, this year’s matchup will take place in Columbia, allowing the Gamecocks the home-field advantage. 

However, Clemson travels well, and there is no doubt that there will be a sizable orange presence in a sea of garnet for this year’s Thanksgiving weekend.

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Grace O'Donnell, Sports Editor
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