Jan. 26, 2004
Through 18 games, Clemson’s schedule strength is ranked fifth in the nation by RPI and first by Sagarin. The Tigers’ schedule was ranked the toughest by the Sagarin rankings after Clemson’s game against Georgia Tech on Tuesday. Those rankings should only get higher in the coming weeks as Clemson’s next three games are against North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest, all of whom are ranked in the top 25 of poll the AP and USA Today/Coach’s polls.
The Clemson record for consecutive games against top 25 teams is five, set in 1992-93 when Clemson played Duke (3rd), Virginia (24), North Carolina (3rd), Florida State (9) and Wake Forest (12) between Feb 8-24, 1993. Clemson was 1-4 in those five games with the only win over 12th ranked Wake Forest, 76-74.
Clemson will have at least four straight games against top 25 teams in the next three weeks. Clemson faces Georgia Tech on Tuesday, North Carolina on Saturday, Duke on Feb. 8 and Wake Forest on Feb. 12 in its next four games. A hard charging Florida State team is the fifth game in the stetch.
If Clemson does face four straight top 25 teams it would be just the fifth time in school history Clemson has played four straight games against top 25 teams. The other occurrences were in 1980-81 (Feb. 12-21), 1987-88 (Feb. 28 through March 11), and twice in 1992-93. The aforementioned five-game streak from Feb. 8-24 and a four-game streak from January 6-20 took place that season. The 1987-88 four-game streak was the toughest stretch ever, as all four teams were ranked in the top 13 in the nation. The Tigers went 2-2 in the stretch under coach Cliff Ellis.
Clemson has played four games against top 25 teams so far this season. Oliver Purnell’s team has faced a 20th ranked Purdue team on the road, a 16th ranked Cincinnati team on the road, a second-ranked Duke team at home and a fourth-ranked Wake Forest team on the road. The record for games against ranked teams in one year is 13 set in 2000-01. The 1992-93 Clemson team played 11 games against ranked teams. Five other Clemson teams have faced 10 top 25 teams in a single season.
The nine teams who have beaten Clemson so far this year include a South Carolina team that is 17-2. The Gamecocks were unranked when they played Clemson on December 6, but have now reached the top 25.
Clemson owns two wins over teams ranked in the top 32 of the latest RPI rankings. Clemson defeated Boston College on December 30 and the Eagles are ranked 21st in the RPI with a 13-5 record. The Tigers also downed a 13-5 Florida State team, who is now 32 in the RPI after wins over North Carolina and Wake Forest last week.
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