On Monday, the ACC released the 2012 conference schedules for its 12 member institutions. A day later, Clemson associate athletic director Kyle Young joined The Roy Philpott Show to discuss that process.
And the holdup on the schedule release was quite simple.
"There were a couple of our member institutions within the ACC who were dropped last minute by some non-conference opponents," Young said. "When that happens, fortunately, the ACC doesn't set their conference dates until after we've set our non-conference dates. That's a plus for the schools."
It was only a few years ago when that same situation hit closer to home. Central Michigan dropped Clemson from its schedule in 2009.
"Fortunately, the ACC gave us a lot of leeway in picking the date in which we could find a suitable opponent," Young said. "That year, we found a very suitable opponent. Unfortunately, we just didn't come out on the winning end against a TCU program that's proved to be one of the best football programs in the country, over the last 5-10 years."
Many Clemson fans have bemoaned the fact that the Tigers are wrapping up the ACC schedule a week prior to the annual showdown with South Carolina while the Gamecocks are playing an FCS or non-BCS conference opponent.
Clemson will face off with The Citadel the week before playing South Carolina in 2013. (Getty Images)
"We actually tried to make some adjustments in 2012, but were unsuccessful in doing so. But, in 2013, we will be playing The Citadel that weekend prior to the annual game against South Carolina," Young said. "Going forward, we're looking to do the exact same thing in each year."
The holdup, in part, was a result of the length ahead of time in which non-conference games are scheduled.
"I came into this role five years ago," Young said. "I scheduled my first FCS game a couple of weeks ago. That was against The Citadel in 2017. We've had these FCS games set for quite some time. That's institutionally."
Nine games against ACC opponents?
When Syracuse and Pittsburgh are added to the ACC, the ACC has released a statement last month indicating the conference schedule will expand from eight to nine games. That could potentially throw a wrench into some of the plans Clemson has made for future non-conference opponents.
The issue arises for teams in the ACC that have permanent out-of-conference rivalry games scheduled every year (Clemson, Georgia Tech and Florida State).
If those programs want to schedule home-and-home series with other out of conference teams, they will be forced to play just six home games during the season they face that opponent on the road.
"This is one that will produce some challenges for us at Clemson, because we do have the traditional rivalry with South Carolina. We're not going to give that up," Young said. "You do that, then you add the nine ACC games, you've only got two other games that I will be responsible for scheduling."
He added, "With a nine game conference schedule, you're going to have five home games one year and four home games in the next year that are conference games. In the years that we have those five home games, we'll be on the road against South Carolina. In the years that we have the four, we'll be at home against South Carolina.
"Forever, at least since we've had 12 football games in a season, our goal has been to have seven home football games. That presents some significant challenges as we look ahead and try to maintain some of the rivalries we've had with some other schools throughout our history. That includes the Georgias and the Auburns.
"There will have to be a different look. Do we maintain the seven home game model? Is that something that we stick to as a top priority? Or do we make some concession here and there have six home games in one year? That's a significant challenge, not only for our athletic department, but for our community and our football program."
Young remains "under the impression" that the ACC have each team play a nine-game schedule when league expands from 12 to 14 schools. Plus, not knowing the exact arrival date of Pittsburgh and Syracuse adds even further question as to what the future holds.
"With a few years potentially buffering us from that going into effect, there is always a possibility that there may be a different model that comes out of the league office," he said. "I can't necessarily say that I'm guaranteeing that we're going to nine games or that I'm guaranteeing we're not."
Thursday nights in Clemson
In a release from Dabo Swinney on the 2012 schedule, he said the request for a Thursday night home game was approved by the Clemson administration.
Although there is no Thursday night game in Clemson on this year's schedule, that doesn't mean there won't be any in the future.
"I think we will," Young said, when asked if there's a chance Clemson fans can watch the Tigers play at Death Valley on Thursday nights in the future.
"I don't think it will be an every year occurrence." Clemson plays a Thursday night game this coming season at Wake Forest.