If you want to see the biggest games in the ACC, Clemson Memorial Stadium is the place to be in 2015. What looks like the most important game on the conference schedule, the Tigers versus Florida State on Nov. 7, will be played at Clemson. So will the highly anticipated clash with Notre Dame and the match up with Coastal contender Georgia Tech.
Head coach Dabo Swinney and the Tigers do have some challenges on the road, including at Louisville and at North Carolina State. But Clemson catches a break this year. In the Tigers' pursuit of an ACC title — and a spot in the College Football Playoff — their biggest games are at home.
Here is a ranking of Clemson’s 12 regular season games, from easiest to most difficult.
12. Sept. 5 vs. Wofford
The Terriers will come to Clemson to open season, get beat in a bad way, and will go home with a very sizeable paycheck.
11. Sept. 12 vs. Appalachian State
The Mountaineers return 20 starters from a 7-5 team and are poised to make noise in the Sun Belt. They won’t see anyone in the Sun Belt quite like Clemson.
10. Nov. 21 vs. Wake Forest
Wake’s questionable secondary will struggle to contain the Clemson skill players and the Deacons' offense should sputter against most everyone. The spot on the schedule makes this a slightly easier game than...
9. Nov. 14 at Syracuse
Wake should have a better team than the Orange. But this is a road game and the Tigers will be coming off their steel cage match with Florida State.
8. Oct. 24 at Miami
This isn’t about where this is on Clemson’s schedule; it’s about where it is on Miami’s schedule. The Canes’ four games leading up to the Tigers are Nebraska, Cincinnati, Florida State and Virginia Tech.
7. Oct. 17 vs. Boston College
Clemson has Notre Dame and then Georgia Tech prior to hosting the Eagles. BC’s tough front seven could give Clemson’s young offensive line some problems.
6. Sept. 17 (Thursday) at Louisville
Thursday nights at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium are never easy. Clemson does have two layup games before going to Louisville while the Cardinals will be tested by Auburn and Houston.
5. Nov. 28 at South Carolina
Last year, Clemson broke a five-game losing streak versus the hated Gamecocks. They are now looking to end a three-game skid at Williams-Brice.
4. Oct. 31 at NC State
The Wolfpack should be a balanced unit with a lot of returning starters. Plus, there is the danger of looking ahead to Florida State, something that is not recommended when venturing to Raleigh.
3. Oct. 10 vs. Georgia Tech
There will be a lot of hype when Notre Dame comes to Clemson seven days before Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets' veteran offensive line and their multiple-option attack could be an issue for Clemson’s inexperienced defensive front.
2. Oct. 3 vs. Notre Dame
Like Clemson, Notre Dame wants to be playing on New Year’s Eve in either Miami or Dallas. The Irish are used to all kinds of crazy environments, which is good for them because Death Valley will be a madhouse.
1. Nov. 7 vs. Florida State
It’s not that the Seminoles are necessarily better than Notre Dame. It’s that this is the game that will probably decide the Atlantic Division and Clemson has bad memories of the Seminoles' last visit to the upstate.
— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.