With all of the insanity going on over in the Big East, we wanted to give a breakdown of each of the ACC‘s schedules — how the teams stack up, and some thoughts on overall difficulty. If these change at all, we’ll also be sure to update them on a rolling basis. All information is up-to-date as of publishing, based on the latest from FBSchedules.com.
Today’s breakdown: Clemson Tigers
Clemson’s 2012 non-conference schedule is not at all enviable, with two SEC teams on the slate, much like last season. In addition to their annual matchup with South Carolina to end the season, the Tigers will start their season with a trip to Atlanta to face Auburn in the Chick-fil-a College Kickoff. The meeting will be the rivals’ third in a row, after not facing off from 1972 through 2009. Their first game against each other was played in 1899. Lucky for Clemson the rest of the non-conference schedule figures to be a cakewalk, with Ball State and Furman headed to Death Valley for the nearly-inevitable slaughter.
The Tigers’ ACC schedule is balanced, albeit difficult. While they get matchups with 2011 doormats Boston College, Duke and Maryland, they’ll also get just as many tilts with teams ranked in early preseason top 25 polls. Thankfully, of those teams, Virginia Tech and NC State visit Memorial Stadium, but Clemson still must travel down to Tallahassee, Fla. with projected top-10 program Florida State. If you’ll recall, Clemson defeated the Hokies twice last year — both times in resounding fashion — but split with the Seminoles and Wolfpack. Remaining opponents Wake Forest and Georgia Tech both gave the Tigers trouble in 2011, and if their defense isn’t improved, the same may be said this season as well. Head coach Dabo Swinney’s gotten Clemson to a BCS game. Now it’s time to reach their ultimate goal: a National Championship.
Previously: Boston College