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Schedule and Odds
Clemson finished with 11 wins last year, but they didn't make it as far as they would have liked playing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The win over LSU was nice, but they have their sights set on an ACC title and a BCS bowl this season. An important piece of that will be their home game against Florida State right in the middle of their season. Losing their top receiver and running back in DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Ellington will be tough, but they still have tons of firepower with Tajh Boyd at quarterback.
Oddsmakers give Clemson a legitimate shot at making some noise this year. They are favored to win the ACC and their odds to win the BCS Title are 28 to 1, making them the 10th choice overall, of ALL BCS teams. Those odds are courtesy of 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
Boyd leads the Tigers offense that scored 41 points per game last year. He has now cemented himself as one of the best QBs in the nation that can throw the ball and move on his feet. Clemson doesn't exactly have a top replacement at running back, but there are a few options that can get the job done collectively led by Roderick McDowell. Losing Hopkins will hurt in the receiving game, but Sammy Watkins will hopefully return to his 2011 form. He's joined by two big playmakers in waiting in Martavis Bryant and Charone Peake. With only their center missing on the line, the Clemson offense will once again be one of the best in the nation.
The defense has been Clemson's main problem over the past few years as they have never really been all that great. DC Brent Venables brought improvement last year, but that could also be because of the ease of their late season schedule. While they held some of the lesser ACC teams to below 20 points, the Tigers gave up 48 points to NC State in their final conference game. They are returning seven starters which is a good start, but three of them are leaving from the secondary which could become a problem right off the bat against Aaron Murray and Georgia.
2013 Clemson College Football Schedule
Aug. 31 vs. Georgia
Sept. 7 vs. South Carolina State
Sept. 19 at NC State
Sept. 28 vs. Wake Forest
Oct. 5 at Syracuse
Oct. 12 vs. Boston College
Oct. 19 vs. Florida State
Oct. 26 at Maryland
Nov. 2 at Virginia
Nov. 14 vs. Georgia Tech
Nov. 23 vs. Citadel
Nov. 30 at South Carolina
Clemson's ACC schedule sets up nicely for them to win the Atlantic division and the Championship. Getting Florida State at home is the biggest key as the Seminoles may be the only team they have to worry about yet again in the conference. They'll have to play newcomers Syracuse on the road, but the Orange lost a lot of talent and coaches from last year. The problem for the Tigers is that they start the season against Georgia (although at home) and end the year at South Carolina.
Of course, Clemson can still make a BCS bowl even if they lose those non-conference battles because they can win the ACC. The Bulldogs are aiming for a National Title while the Gamecocks have had Clemson's number as of late. 10 wins is a good regular season benchmark for Clemson, but if their defense shows more improvement this year, they'll be fighting for even more.
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