Clemson is preparing for its 12th and final regular season game on Saturday when the Tigers will take on their in-state rival, South Carolina.
The Gamecocks (7-4, 4-4 SEC), fresh off their beatdown of a top-five team in Tennessee last weekend, cracked the top 25 of both the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll (at No. 25) earlier this season after Week 8.
Although South Carolina’s appearance in the rankings was short lived, as it fell out of the polls after losing to an unranked Missouri team the following week, the Gamecocks will mark the seventh opponent Clemson has faced this season that has been ranked at some point over the course of the 2022 campaign (Wake Forest, NC State, Florida State, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Miami).
That fact was brought up during Dabo Swinney’s weekly Tuesday press conference, with Clemson’s head coach being asked if he thinks the Tigers’ schedule stacks up with just about any other team in the College Football Playoff race.
“Yeah. It’s been a tough schedule all year, every game,” he said. “Every game is a tough game. It’s hard to win. There’s a lot of narratives that people like to put out there. But all you’ve got to do is just pay attention to college football. It’s really hard to win.”
Swinney pointed to last week’s slate of college football action as the “perfect example” of that – Week 12 saw six teams in the top 25 of last week’s College Football Playoff rankings lose to unranked opponents (No. 5 Tennessee to South Carolina, No. 13 North Carolina to Georgia Tech, No. 14 Ole Miss to Arkansas, No. 20 UCF to Navy, No. 22 Oklahoma State to Oklahoma, No. 24 NC State to Louisville).
Meanwhile, two of the top four teams in last week’s CFP rankings – No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 TCU – needed last-second field goals to survive against Illinois and Baylor, respectively, while No. 1 Georgia only beat Kentucky by 10 points and No. 2 Ohio State led Maryland by only three points at one juncture of the fourth quarter before scoring the final 10 for a 13-point win.
“It’s really, really hard to win, especially consistently,” Swinney said. “In college football, dealing with young people, anybody can have a bad day – anybody. It’s a tough, tough game. In college football, there’s a lot of parity. You can have injuries. There’s a lot of things that go into it, and anybody can have a day.”
Clemson (10-1, 8-0 ACC) enters Saturday’s contest ranked 10th in the nation in strength of schedule according to NCAA data for cumulative opposition, including games already played and games remaining.
The Tigers are one of two Power Five teams with only one loss (Southern Cal), while only four unbeaten teams remain (Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, TCU).
“So, hard to win, man,” Swinney said. “It’s hard to win.”
Dear Old Clemson is excited to announce a limited edition football and poster signed by Clemson’s Avengers.
Now there is a new way you can support Clemson student-athletes. Purchase collectibles from Dear Old Clemson and the proceeds with go to support Clemson student-athletes. Visit Dear Old Clemson to find out how you can help!