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Clemson Non-Conference Schedule Rated 10 by Sporting News

June 20, 2011

CLEMSON, SC – Clemson will play the 10th most challenging non-conference schedule in the nation according to the Sporting News. Three of Clemson’s four non-conference games will be against teams that played in bowl games last year and all four of the non-conference foes won at least eight games in 2010.

Ten of Clemson’s 11 FBS opponents went to bowl games last year, including six who won at least nine games in 2010. Additionally, Wofford, Clemson’s FBS opponent, was 10-3 and reached the second round of the NCAA playoffs.

Clemson’s three FBS non-conference opponents had a combined 31-10 record last year, a .756 winning percentage. That list includes defending National Champion Auburn, who comes to Clemson on September 17. Troy (8-5) and South Carolina (9-5) also had outstanding seasons in 2010.

Miami (FL) (fourth), Florida State (6th) and Clemson (10th) were the three ACC teams in Sporting News top 10 for toughest non-conference schedules in the nation. Overall, Clemson’s 12 opponents in 2011 had a 104-55 record last year, a .654 winning percentage. Each of Clemson’s first five opponents won at least eight games, including four in a row who won at least 10 games.

Clemson has a stretch of consecutive games against Auburn (14-0), Florida State (10-4) and Virginia Tech (11-3) between September 24 and October 1 that will be one of the most challenging stretches in school history. All three of those teams played for their respective conference championships last year. Clemson plays all four schools that played for the ACC and SEC championships last year.

Clemson will open the season September 3 against Troy, the first meeting on the gridiron between the two schools. Troy finished with an 8-5 record last year and ranked 11th in the nation in passing offense, 17th in total offense and fifth in quarterback sacks.

Clemson’s second game will be played on September 10 when Wofford from nearby Spartanburg, SC comes to Clemson. It will be the first meeting between the Tigers and the Terriers since 2001 and just the second meeting since 1981. Wofford had a 10-3 season in 2010 when they led the all FCS schools in rushing yards per game.

Auburn, the defending national champion, comes to Clemson on September 17. The Auburn Tigers had a 14-0 record last year, including a 27-24 win over Clemson in overtime. Clemson was the only team to take Auburn to overtime last year.

Auburn’s appearance will mark the first time the defending national champion has come to Clemson since 1991 when Georgia Tech played at Clemson after having won the title according to the Coach’s poll in 1990. The only year an opponent came to Clemson as the defending national champion was 1981 when Georgia played at Clemson after winning the 1980 title.

Clemson opens its ACC schedule against Florida State on September 24 at Memorial Stadium. The two schools played a thrilling game last year that was decided on a 55-yard field goal on the last play of the game, giving the Seminoles a 16-13 victory. Clemson has not lost to Florida State in Memorial Stadium in 10 years. Florida State won the ACC’s Atlantic Division title last year and finished with a Chick-fil-A Bowl victory over South Carolina.

Defending ACC champion Virginia Tech will be Clemson’s first road game on October 1. It will be the first meeting between the Tigers and the Hokies since the two schools played at Clemson in 2007. Virginia Tech finished with an 11-3 mark last year and has won the ACC title three of the last four years.

Boston College comes to Clemson on October 8 for the annual battle for the O’Rourke-McFadden Trophy. Seven of the last eight meetings between these two schools have been decided by a touchdown or less.

Clemson will travel to Maryland on October 15 to face Randy Edsall’s Terps. The two schools have met every year since 1952 and the Tigers have a 30-27-2 lead in the competitive series. Clemson defeated a nine-win Maryland team last year at Clemson, 31-7.

North Carolina will come to Clemson on October 22 for its last appearance in Death Valley until the 2016 season. The Tar Heels are coming off an eight-win season that concluded with a bowl victory over Tennessee. Clemson will celebrate the 30-year anniversary of its 1981 National Championship that day.

The Tigers travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech on October 29. Tech led the nation in rushing offense last year, meaning Clemson’s defense will face the top programs in college football at the FBS and FCS level in rushing. Clemson and Georgia Tech played for the 2009 ACC championship.

After an open date, Clemson will play host to Wake Forest on November 12. It will be Senior Day at Clemson.

The last two games are on the road. Clemson travels to NC State for its final league game on November 19. The Tigers have beaten NC State seven straight years, the Tigers longest streak in the history of the series. Clemson finishes its regular season at South Carolina on November 26. Clemson has won nine of the last 11 meetings in the series in Columbia. The state rivals have played every year since 1909.

Sporting News Top 10 Non Conference Schedules for 2011 1. LSU: vs. Oregon (Dallas), Northwestern State, at West Virginia, Western Kentucky 2. Pittsburgh: Buffalo, Maine, at Iowa, Notre Dame, Utah 3. Colorado: at Hawaii, California, Colorado State (Denver), at Ohio State 4. Miami (FL): Ohio State, Kansas State, Bethune-Cookman, at South Florida 5. Ohio State: Akron, Toledo, at Miami, Colorado 6. Florida State: Louisiana-Monroe, Charleston Southern, Oklahoma, at Florida 7. Georgia: vs. Boise State (Atlanta), Coastal Carolina, New Mexico State, at Georgia Tech 8. UCLA: at Houston, San Jose State, Texas 9. USC: Minnesota, Syracuse, at Notre Dame10. Clemson: Troy, Wofford, Auburn, at South Carolina