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Future Clemson Football Schedules

Sept. 19, 2000

By Tim Bourret Sports Information DirectorWake Forest Game Program – September 16, 2000

So you are getting married and your entire family schedules its fall activities around Clemson football home games. You call the Clemson Sports information office to get the 2001 schedule so you can plan this major event. Much to your disappointment, you can’t get an answer to this question. You are told the schedule won’t be released until December 15 or even later.

This is probably the most confusing issue we deal with in the sports information office, hence this article to explain why we can’t give you much of an answer.

Seven years ago the ACC began meeting in December to determine each team’s conference schedule. The reason for the delay… television. The television networks want a schedule that creates competitive conference games each week. Obviously, for the ACC to be competitive with the other conferences when it comes to TV ratings, it is imperative that there are marquee games each week.

To have a competitive game each week, you really can’t make a schedule until the previous year is over. Even then it is a guessing game, but it is certainly easier than scheduling three or four years in advance. With ABC and ESPN and ESPN2 expanding their coverage, almost every conference in the country is waiting until the December or January prior to the season to release its schedule.

So, those of you who think a full schedule exits, hidden in some vault in Greensboro, you are wrong. Up until 1996 the Clemson SID office would tell a wedding planner a “tentative schedule” for a future season. We were emphatic about the possibility of changes, but when the changes were announced in December, we had some angry people who still went ahead and scheduled their events based on the tentative schedule.

You can see by the chart below, that the 1996 schedule published in the 1995 Clemson Football Guide and the actual 1996 schedule are dramatically different. Thus, it is senseless to publish a tentative future schedule.

1996 Schedule Comparison
First Published Actual
Aug. 31 at North Carolina
Sept. 7 Furman Sept. 7 Furman
Sept. 14 N.C. State Sept. 14 Open Date
Sept. 21 at Missouri Sept. 21 at Missouri
Sept. 28 Georgia Tech Sept. 28 Wake Forest
Oct. 5 at Virginia Oct. 5 at Florida State
Oct. 12 Open Date Oct. 12 at Duke
Oct. 19 Maryland Oct. 19 Georgia Tech
Oct. 26 at Duke Oct. 26 Open Date
Nov. 2 Wake Forest Nov. 2 Maryland
Nov. 9 at Florida St. Nov. 9 at Virginia
Nov. 16 at North Carolina Nov. 16 N.C. State
Nov. 23 South Carolina Nov. 23 South Carolina

Thus, the ACC does not even try to make a tentative conference schedule until the meeting of athletic directors in December. We will be able to give you games and dates for the next season’s non-conference schedule. That should not change, although it could.

Four years ago I wrote a similar article stating that Sept. 16, 2000 should be national wedding day for Clemson graduates. That day was supposed to be the day Clemson played at Texas A&M.

Well, as you can see, Clemson is playing a home game today against Wake Forest. The non-conference games change also. Next year Clemson is tentatively scheduled to play on Sept. 1 at home against Central Florida. Tulane is scheduled to come to Clemson on Oct. 6 and the Tigers will go to South Carolina on Nov. 17. Also, Clemson would be eligible for an exempt preseason game. Those games are not determined until the winter before the season begins.

Speaking of non-conference games, there are contracts in place for some attractive games in the coming seasons. In addition to the two games with Texas A&M, Clemson also has multiple game contracts for contests with Georgia and Auburn over the next seven years.

Clemson and Auburn have not met in a regular seson game on the gridiron since 1971. The first three coaches in Clemson football history were Auburn graduates. Walter Riggs, Clemson’s first head coach and later University President, was Clemson’s coach in 1896 and 1899 and was an 1893 Auburn graduate. William Williams, Clemson’s mentor in 1897, was an 1896 Auburn grad, while John Penton, Clemson’s head coach in the fall of 1898, had graduated from Auburn in the previous spring.

Clemson and Georgia have agreed to a two-year renewal of their 100-year football rivalry. The two teams first played in 1897 in Athens and last met in 1995 at Clemson. The 2002 game is tentatively scheduled to be played on Aug. 31 in Athens, and the 2003 game is scheduled for Aug. 30 at Clemson.

Georgia leads the series 39-17-4, but the Bulldogs hold just an 8-6-1 advantage since 1977. Three of Clemson’s most thrilling victories in recent memory have taken place against Georgia. In 1981 Clemson defeated a fourth-ranked Georgia team 13-3 in Death Valley on the way to a National Championship. It remains the highest ranked win in Clemson history in Memorial Stadium. The Tigers won consecutive games in 1986 and 1987 on last-second field goals by David Treadwell.