CLEMSON -- The start of the 2019 football season is now 13 weeks away. With that in mind, it is now time to begin to break down the schedule that the Clemson Tigers will have to face.
With the Tigers carrying hopes of a fifth straight trip to the College Football Playoff, and a third national title in the last four seasons, today we look at the five "easiest" games on the 2019 schedule.
5. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: The Yellow Jackets could have easily made the list of the five most difficult games, however the Tigers’ recent success both at home and on the road in the series bumped the Yellow Jackets to one of the easiest games.
The Tigers have won four in a row and six of the last seven games, the only loss coming in Deshaun Watson’s freshman season in a game that he did not finish.
The Yellow Jackets and Tigers open the 2019 season Aug. 29 in a Thursday night (8 p.m.) prime-time game that kicks off the leagues network.
Adding to the excitement is Georgia Tech first-year coach Geoff Collins. The anti-Paul Johnson (former head coach), Collins has brought a sense of fun and renewed enthusiasm to a program that has spent the last few season's living in the 1950's offensively.
But it will take Collins a few years to get his players in, and the Tigers pose an incredible "Welcome to the ACC" challenge.
4. The Syracuse Orange: The Orange enter this year’s contest off last season's near-win at Clemson, in a game that saw starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence knocked out of the contest.
Eerily similar to the 2017 season when the Tigers lost to the Orange after then quarterback Kelly Bryant was knocked out of the game and the Orange handed the Tigers their last regular season loss, the Tigers seemed poised to drop their second game in a row to the Orange.
The Tiger defense was gashed through the air and on the ground in last season’s near loss, and the big play was almost non-existent for the offense.
While head coach Dabo Swinney and his Tiger team will never speak of a game being a revenge game because “every game is the biggest game of the season,” this contest is sure to be on the minds of every Tiger that was on the field last season.
With a stout defense and a dynamic offense out to prove last year was the anomaly and not the norm, the Tigers should have their way with the Orange this year.
3. The Louisville Cardinals: The Cardinals had been one of the biggest threats to Clemson's Atlantic Division dominance, as a total of 15 points separated the Tigers from the Cardinals in their first three meetings — until two season's ago when the Tigers began their annual mauling of the Cardinals.
In 2017, the Tigers dominated the Cardinals, who were led by the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, by a final score of 47-21. And last season saw the Tigers drive the proverbial nail into the coffin of former head coach Bobby Pettrino, as the Tigers beat the Cardinals by a final score of 77-16.
This season, Scott Satterfield won’t have anything easy in his first season as head coach of the Louisville football program. He’ll inherit the pieces (broken albeit) of a team that went 2-10.
2. The Florida State Seminoles: Honestly, anyone who would have ever bet 10 years ago that the Seminoles would be one of the easiest Power 5 games of the Tigers' season would have won a lot of money off their friends.
But after last season's 59-10 beat down of the Seminoles on the road, there is little to lead anyone to think that this year will not have the same result under second-year head coach Willie Taggart.
Now, we do not believe that they final score will be as lopsided as it was last season, a lack of discipline, recruiting, and culture at Florida State does not breed a ton of confidence that Taggart will experience success in "Year 2."
A hot-seat that was all ready smoldering after only one season at Florida State may become too hot to handle for Taggart in his second season.
1. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons: The Tigers took the Demon Deacons to the woodshed last season, amassing 471 rushing yards in a 63-3 dominating performance.
This season, the Demon Deacons have the unenviable task of making the trip to Death Valley to face an offense that is expected to be even more dynamic than the one that led the Tigers to a 60-point victory a season ago.
Dave Doeren has experienced success at Wake Forest, but not against Dabo Swinney. The Tigers head coach has not lost to the Demon Deacons since taking over the program -- winning 10 straight against Wake Forest -- and we don't expect it to start this season.