Nine-game ACC football schedule will put a squeeze on Clemson's options

The Clemson Sports Blog

Clemson wide receiver Jaron Brown (18) gets tackled by Auburn defensive back Ryan Smith (24) and Auburn defensive back T'Sharvan Bell (22) in the first quarter.

Clemson wide receiver Jaron Brown (18) gets tackled by Auburn defensive back Ryan Smith (24) and Auburn defensive back T'Sharvan Bell (22) in the first quarter.

The adjustment to a nine-game conference schedule will be easier on some schools than others.

Count Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech among the 'others.'

A built-in, traditional season-ending rivalry game against SEC opponents will put a serious squeeze on the scheduling options of the Tigers, Seminoles and Yellow Jackets, with implications both for marquee games like Clemson's 2012 Kickoff opener against Auburn and subsequent home-and-home series with Georgia, and for the Tigers' yearly match-ups against an in-state Football Championship Division teams.

Prior to the announcement that Pittsburgh and Syracuse will be joining the ACC (presumably for the 2014 football season), Clemson had already set its four conference opponents for both 2013 and 2014.

The Tigers will open the 2013 season at home against Georgia, end it with a visit to South Carolina, and will also play non-conference opponents Citadel and Kent State. The Bulldogs and Gamecocks will again bookend the 2014 season, but with the addition of Syracuse as an every-year Atlantic Division opponent, either Coastal Carolina or Central Michigan will be bumped from the schedule.

Clemson currently has three non-conference opponents scheduled for the 2015 and 2016 seasons – Mississippi and South Carolina both years, with Wofford in 2015 and SC State in 2016.

Clemson administrators will have several possible options for future scheduling. With just two slots to play with, they could go for a high-level opponent (such as a tentatively scheduled down-the-road home-and-home with Oklahoma State) and pair it with an in-state FCS opponent. Or they could lighten the load by scheduling from the pool of FBS 'mid-majors,' and pairing a Middle Tennessee, Central Michigan or North Texas with an in-state FCS team.

Or they could dispense with the in-state games entirely and aim for an unrelenting, national schedule.

Also in play as a consideration for Clemson's schedule is whether the 14-team SEC at some point follows the ACC's lead and opts for a nine-game league schedule as opposed to the current eight-game conference slate.

Fans, and television, love high-profile inter-conference and inter-region match-ups. But expansion – for dollar-driven reasons of its own – appears to be pulling in a different direction.

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Comments » 8

antpruitt writes:

sounds messy, but who cares. i need FOOTBALL

AParker writes:

The University needs to drop out of state/region low class games. Keep the Coastal Carolina, Wofford, Furman series as your warm up, get one good SEC/Big 12/Big East/ Big 10 team to play against, then finish the year with that school. Ask the ACC to schedule the easier teams for you at the beginning of the year, and take a bye week either the 3rd to last or 2nd to last game of the year.

Wooderson82 writes:

in response to AParker:

The University needs to drop out of state/region low class games. Keep the Coastal Carolina, Wofford, Furman series as your warm up, get one good SEC/Big 12/Big East/ Big 10 team to play against, then finish the year with that school. Ask the ACC to schedule the easier teams for you at the beginning of the year, and take a bye week either the 3rd to last or 2nd to last game of the year.

AParker- what you have suggested here sir just makes too much sense to ever happen.

As an alumnus and fan, I'd love to see us break out the 3 non-conference games that way.

Unfortunately, this looks like it's going to be driven by $$$... So I'd expect to see us keep the smaller in-state team (home game), mid major team (home game) and Carolina on the schedule.

TrevorT writes:

in response to AParker:

The University needs to drop out of state/region low class games. Keep the Coastal Carolina, Wofford, Furman series as your warm up, get one good SEC/Big 12/Big East/ Big 10 team to play against, then finish the year with that school. Ask the ACC to schedule the easier teams for you at the beginning of the year, and take a bye week either the 3rd to last or 2nd to last game of the year.

Your scheduling suggestion sounds perfect to me. Although I don't think we can control where our conference games fall.

columbiabill writes:

Most coaches like to have a couple of warm-up games before getting into the meat of their schedule. In that regard, I have never been in favor of Clemson opening the season in Atlanta against the likes of Alabama and Auburn as these games have not been kind to Clemson and tend to set the tone for the rest of the season. The in state games are good for 2 reasons. These schools tend to bring decent crowds with them to their big game and it gives these schools a good payday. To me, the biggest issue is having Syracuse as one of Clemson's inter division opponents every year. This just doesn't make sense. The 9 game conference format is likely going to be the norm though nationwide. There are 4 schools that will feel the biggest impact. Clemson, Florida State, Florida, and South Carolina since each of them have as their rival game an inter conference opponent. Here's an idea that has no chance of happening: Drop Syracuse and have the ACC and SEC declare the Clemson-South Carolina and Florida-Florida State games as conference games. This allows these schools to schedule 3 non conference games of their choosing. The rival games then become even bigger.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to columbiabill:

Most coaches like to have a couple of warm-up games before getting into the meat of their schedule. In that regard, I have never been in favor of Clemson opening the season in Atlanta against the likes of Alabama and Auburn as these games have not been kind to Clemson and tend to set the tone for the rest of the season. The in state games are good for 2 reasons. These schools tend to bring decent crowds with them to their big game and it gives these schools a good payday. To me, the biggest issue is having Syracuse as one of Clemson's inter division opponents every year. This just doesn't make sense. The 9 game conference format is likely going to be the norm though nationwide. There are 4 schools that will feel the biggest impact. Clemson, Florida State, Florida, and South Carolina since each of them have as their rival game an inter conference opponent. Here's an idea that has no chance of happening: Drop Syracuse and have the ACC and SEC declare the Clemson-South Carolina and Florida-Florida State games as conference games. This allows these schools to schedule 3 non conference games of their choosing. The rival games then become even bigger.

Big non-conference games on neutral sites are driven by money. It's a big payday for all involved. If you don't want to play in that game, then there's a line of schools that's waiting to take your place. The game is usually the only game of the day and it is on national television. It's great exposure for your football program. Beating Wofford by 7 touchdowns doesn't do anything for your football program or your football team.

You don't get to drop Syracuse and count the Clemson-South Carolina game as a conference game. Both conferences wouldn't go for it. You can't have your cake and eat it too. If preserving the football rivalry was THE MOST important thing then the presidents of both universities should have gotten together with South Carolina lawmakers and twisted Mike Slive's arm until the SEC takes Clemson instead of Missouri. And before someone says that it wouldn't work, UVa and Virginia lawmakers got VT into the ACC. The opportunity was there once Texas A&M was brought in since the SEC was uneven. Now it's too late. Missed opportunity.

TRUETIGER1 writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

Big non-conference games on neutral sites are driven by money. It's a big payday for all involved. If you don't want to play in that game, then there's a line of schools that's waiting to take your place. The game is usually the only game of the day and it is on national television. It's great exposure for your football program. Beating Wofford by 7 touchdowns doesn't do anything for your football program or your football team.

You don't get to drop Syracuse and count the Clemson-South Carolina game as a conference game. Both conferences wouldn't go for it. You can't have your cake and eat it too. If preserving the football rivalry was THE MOST important thing then the presidents of both universities should have gotten together with South Carolina lawmakers and twisted Mike Slive's arm until the SEC takes Clemson instead of Missouri. And before someone says that it wouldn't work, UVa and Virginia lawmakers got VT into the ACC. The opportunity was there once Texas A&M was brought in since the SEC was uneven. Now it's too late. Missed opportunity.

SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED EXACTLY THAT WAY. SWOFFORD, BARKER,AND TDP KNOW ACC FOOTBALL CANNOT SURVIVE WITHOUT CLEMSON.I HAVE SAID IT BEFORE, I'LL SAY IT AGAIN, WE BELONG IN THE SEC. WE WOULD HAVE A CAPACITY CROWD ALMOST EVERY SATURDAY AND HOW GREAT WOULD THE TAILGATING BE!JUST THINK, NO MORE RON CHERRY. HOW NICE IT COULD HAVE BEEN.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to TRUETIGER1:

SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED EXACTLY THAT WAY. SWOFFORD, BARKER,AND TDP KNOW ACC FOOTBALL CANNOT SURVIVE WITHOUT CLEMSON.I HAVE SAID IT BEFORE, I'LL SAY IT AGAIN, WE BELONG IN THE SEC. WE WOULD HAVE A CAPACITY CROWD ALMOST EVERY SATURDAY AND HOW GREAT WOULD THE TAILGATING BE!JUST THINK, NO MORE RON CHERRY. HOW NICE IT COULD HAVE BEEN.

Let me count the ways that the SEC would be better for you.

1) $$$. You make more of it as a member of the SEC.

2) Recruiting. You can tell any recruit that they'll play in front of AT LEAST 60,000 people every single weekend and most weekends you'll play in front of 80,000. You never have to play at Wake Forest, Duke, Boston College, Syracuse, or Maryland. You also can tell kids that they'll play against the best competition. Your recruiting will get better simply by being in the SEC. Scout's rankings of the top 25 recruiting classes has 9 (NINE!) SEC schools. Rising tides lift all boats.

3) You're in a conference with people like you. Let's face it. You're in a basketball conference and you don't really care about basketball. You should be in a conference where the 2 biggest sports are football and... spring football.

4) Better for fans. You can actually go to road games. You don't want to drive to BC, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, or Maryland.

5) South Carolina rivalry has even more meaning as a conference game.

Missed opportunity.

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