I’m sick of Dabo Swinney pretending his team is actually an underdog. I guarantee if you’re even slightly involved in the college football conversation, you’ve heard the Clemson Tigers head coach go on about “little ol’ Clemson” and how his program is undersold time and time again.
Clemson is 69-4 over the last five seasons. Clemson won the ACC Championship Game five years in a row, the last three of which had a combined score of 142-30. Clemson reached the College Football Playoff National Championship Game four times in five years, winning two of them against Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Clemson is hardly the underdog their charismatic leader continues to push, but the program certainly isn’t doing much to prove itself with scheduling.
Playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference is a joke. I get it. The only program in Clemson’s Atlantic Division with a championship foundation is Florida State, and the ‘Noles are on their third coach in four years. And the Coastal Division? All seven teams in that blackhole won division titles the last seven years, and none are close to being a legitimate, national title threat.
How will Clemson rebound from a title game loss to LSU and prove itself in Death Valley? By hosting powerhouse matchups against the likes of Akron and The Citadel.
Fans ripped Clemson on social media after the 2020 schedule release back on January 22. The only game worth noting is a road contest in South Bend against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, a program the Tigers spanked in the 2018 Cotton Bowl. That CFP semifinal game ended with a 30-3 blowout in which Clemson never trailed.
A road game in Tallahassee against the Seminoles isn’t a true threat. An annual rivalry game against the SEC’s Gamecocks won’t be a problem for Trevor Lawrence and the gang, either. The only time Clemson would face up-and-coming teams like Pittsburgh, Miami or Virginia Tech would be in the conference championship.
Get ready. Unless they falter (or COVID-19 changes everything), the Tigers’ 125th football season basically guarantees a spot in the program’s sixth-straight College Football Playoff.
2020 Clemson Football Schedule
Sept. 3: (Thursday): at Georgia Tech
Sept. 12: LOUISVILLE*
Sept. 19: AKRON
Sept. 26: VIRGINIA*
Oct. 2 (Friday): at Boston College*
Oct. 10: at Florida State*
Oct. 17: NC STATE*
Oct. 24: SYRACUSE*
Nov. 7: at Notre DameAdvertisement
Nov. 14: THE CITADEL
Nov. 21: at Wake Forest*
Nov. 28: SOUTH CAROLINA
* — Denotes conference games
ALL CAPS — Denotes home game at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, SC
This article was originally published January 22, 2020.