Changes ahead for Clemson football schedule, as expansion limits non-ACC options

The Clemson Sports Blog

The Clemson - Auburn game.

Photo by Mark Crammer

The Clemson - Auburn game.

Some adjustments to Clemson’s schedule will be required if Syracuse and Pittsburgh come on board for the 2013 ACC football season, and if the ACC sticks with its plan for a nine-game conference schedule.

Apparently the team caught in the squeeze will not be The Citadel.

Clemson associate AD Kyle Young told CUTigers.com this week that Clemson will face the Bulldogs the week before the South Carolina game (Nov. 23) in 2013.

The placement of the game signals a shift in Clemson’s scheduling framework, and mirrors a change that South Carolina implemented several years ago in its lead-up to the season-ending rivalry clash.

Over the past decade, South Carolina has scheduled a break from SEC play – either an open date or a game against an FCS school or a FBS ‘mid-major’ – the week before its game against Clemson.

The Tigers meanwhile, have played their ACC finale the week before the USC game every year except 2006, when Clemson had an open date before playing the Gamecocks. Last fall, Clemson - after having clinched its ACC division title at home the previous week against Wake Forest - played at NC State the week before playing USC. The Tigers faced the Deacons in 2010, Virginia in 2008 and 2009, Boston College in 2007, Florida State in 2005, and Duke in 2003 and 2004.

Moving forward, Clemson plans to follow the same scheduling model as South Carolina, which played The Citadel in 2011 and will play Wofford next season the week before facing Clemson. USC played Troy in 2010, had open dates in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and played Middle Tennessee in 2006.

Clemson currently has four non-conference opponents scheduled for the next three seasons – Auburn, South Carolina, Ball State and Furman in 2012, Georgia, South Carolina, Citadel and Kent State in 2013, and Georgia, South Carolina, Coastal Carolina and Central Michigan in 2014.

Earlier this winter the ACC announced plans to move to a nine-game conference schedule once expansion is completed, with Syracuse joining the Atlantic Division as an every-year opponent for Clemson.

When Pitt and Syracuse come on board, ACC teams will be limited to three non-conference opponents each season.

Clemson has three non-conference games scheduled for both 2015 and 2016 – Mississippi, South Carolina and Wofford the first year, and Mississippi, South Carolina and SC State the second.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse were originally slated to join the ACC in 2014, in accordance with the Big East Conference’s by-laws requiring a 27-month exit notice.

However, after the Big East reached an agreement with West Virginia which allows the Mountaineers to join the Big 12 for the 2012 season, Big East commissioner John Marinatto suggested that the conference might be willing to release Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC in 2013.

“Given the strength and speed of our expansion efforts, I think our board might be open to a discussion about 2013," Marinatto told the Associated Press in mid-February.

Even without Syracuse and Pitt, the Big East could have 11 football teams in 2013.

Memphis, Central Florida, SMU and Houston from Conference USA are set to join the Big East in 2013 for all sports. Boise State and San Diego State from the Mountain West are slated to join as football-only members in 2013. Navy is scheduled to join in 2015 for just football.

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