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Welcome to the second part of our timetable ranking! Yesterday we took a quick look at Clemson’s roster ahead of the 2022 season. Today we take a look at the Tigers road clashes, ranking the games by difficulty.
1. Notre Dame – November 7
It’s the easiest choice of these previews – without a doubt. Notre Dame should be favored to win all but maybe two of their games in 2022 and it’s a great bet to be in the Top 10-15 with no more than one loss in November when Clemson comes to town.
The Irish head-to-head with Ohio State to start the season will be a great barometer for the team Marcus Freeman now leads, and there would be no shame in dropping that one. This should be one of the biggest must-watch games of the 2022 football season as a whole, as long as the Irish and the Tigers can both live up to expectations.
2. Wake Forest – September 24
Wake Forest managed to steal the ACC Atlantic crown from Clemson last season, despite losing to the Tigers by three touchdowns in Death Valley. Wake Forest will bring back quarterback Sam Hartman, who had an incredible redshirt season for the Deacs, throwing for over 4,000 yards and 39 touchdowns. Wake Forest’s explosive attack under Dave Clawson can score on anyone, but their defense needs to improve if they are to retain their division crown.
3. Florida State – October 15
It’s crazy to think the Seminoles could fall behind Wake Forest in a toughest game ranking. It’s hard to fathom, but that’s what happens when you’re a losing program to Jacksonville State.
To their credit, Florida State rallied in the second half of the year and only needed one win to go bowling.
“As we go through this last season and you see the growth, the development really laying a foundation and the relationships that have been built throughout those experiences and the huge number of guys that we have coming back for this season and some of the new additions that we’ve been able to put our program together,” Mike Norvell noted at the ACC launch. “Even last year, at a time of perhaps disappointing results, the belief and buy-in to where we are going is something that has our players, our coaches, our whole program excited about what the future holds for us.
The schedule isn’t lenient with LSU and Florida in the non-conference, but it feels like a breakthrough year for Mike Norvell’s team.
Clemson Sports Talk
Jeff Hafley sits down with our very own Lawton Swann at the ACC kickoff in Charlotte.
4. Boston College – October 8
So far, Boston College has proven to be a tough, sneaky team under third-year head coach Jeff Hafley. They gave the Tigers games the last two times they played and finally got to face the Tigers in Chestnut Hill after playing the last two games in Death Valley due to the COVID scheduling.
Quarterback Phil Jurkovec will be one of the best signallers in the league, and the Eagles have a real shot at throwing a wrench in the ACC Atlantic race.
“That’s what everybody has to realize about Phil, and people forget that last year around this time, Phil is here, and everybody’s talking about possibly the No. 1 draft pick as a quarterback. Phil played a healthy game last year, the opener against Colgate, and he barely played in the game because it was like 50-0 in the third quarter, so we knocked him out” , Hafley said. ClemsonSportsTalk.com at the ACC kickoff. “Phil gets injured on the first or second drive, the UMass game, then Phil is out, Phil comes back with 50% grip strength in his hand throwing and coming into my office and telling me he wants to play. “
Thankfully, extremely cold temperatures shouldn’t factor in an early October game, but Hafley’s side will be ready.
5. Georgia Tech (Mercedes-Benz Stadium) – September 5
This may not be the toughest third away (or neutral) game for the Tigers, but it’s certainly one of the most important. This will be the first opportunity for Clemson to see a new DJ Uiagalelei slim down and see how much he has improved after a tough last season. Not to mention that former Clemson QB Tiasun Phommachanh could play in this game for Georgia Tech – adding additional intrigue.
Like many teams last season, the Yellow Jackets pushed Clemson all the way. I imagine they will feel confident about the upcoming contest in this one.
To conclude, I will publish my general classification for the 12 games of the regular season.
The general classification:
1. Notre Dame
2. NC status
4. Wake Forest
6. State of Florida
7. Boston College
8. South Carolina
11. Louisiana Tech & Furman