The ACC will release the 2023 conference schedule Monday during a 7 p.m. broadcast on the ACC Network.
In the first year of division-less football and a 3-5-5 scheduling model, the Clemson Tigers will find out exactly when they’ll be playing each game this fall. So far, here’s what we already know:
Sept. 9: Charleston Southern (home)
Sept. 16: Florida Atlantic (home)
Nov. 4: Notre Dame (home)
Nov. 25: South Carolina (away)
Home conference opponents
Away conference opponents
With that in mind, here are five storylines to consider before tonight’s big reveal:
- Labor Day: As you can see, there is no Week 1 opponent listed under the non-conference category, so Clemson will open up with an ACC foe for the second consecutive year and the third time in the last four years. Rumors of who and where have been swirling for weeks, and it’s likely be a road opponent. While nothing is set in stone until this evening, you might want to start looking for hotels on Tobacco Road on Labor Day weekend. Maybe even on that Monday itself.
- Off week: When the bye falls is one of the most important factors of a schedule and will be the first thing many folks lay eyes on. It’s a big deal who you play the week before because sometimes players start looking ahead to the time off. Is it an opponent that’s easy to overlook anyway? Think Syracuse in 2017. That didn’t go well for the Tigers. Also, you usually play a tougher opponent after the off week. Maybe it’ll fall right before the Notre Dame game like it did last year.
- Trap game: There is no proof that there is such thing as a “trap game.” but it’s fun to speculate for analysts when they’re trying to find a team’s schedule weakness. Think of Syracuse in 2018 or Pitt in 2016. Sometimes a game just falls at a weird time, an odd matchup, a road trip that’s easy to take lightly or a game late in the season when injuries pile up. Regardless, there’s always one that a good program like Clemson is expected to win but somebody will find a reason to call it a trap.
- Tough stretch: Sometimes it’s not just one game but a run of a couple or more games that gets everyone’s attention. It’ll be real interesting to see if Clemson has to play NC State and Florida State, two of its more difficult games, in back-to-back weeks. There could also be a run of road games that require extra focus. Of course, which teams bookend the Notre Dame game will be scrutinized, as it should be. Weather won’t be a factor, but Clemson probably wouldn’t mind a trip to Miami in November as opposed to September.
- Pre-rivalry: For years, Clemson either played an FCS team or Wake Forest the week before heading into the in-state rivalry game with South Carolina. More recently, the Tigers have played the Demon Deacons earlier in the season, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see that trend continue. This year, they get Charleston Southern in Week 2, so that option is off the table. With the game in Columbia, it’s doubtful Clemson will play back-to-back road games to end the season, so Miami is likely off the table. Maybe it’ll be Georgia Tech before the Gamecocks or potentially an all-Carolina finish.