Previewing the '13 schedule: Part I

After winning 11 games in 2012, the 2013 Clemson schedule sets up nicely as the Tigers have their sites set on a return to Charlotte for the ACC title game.

Georgia - Saturday, Aug. 31

Their previous opponent: None

Quick preview
Fans on both sides of the border can agree. It's about time Clemson and Georgia get-together to renew the rivalry. Georgia will make the short ride up to Tigertown this year and Clemson will return the favor with a trip to Athens in 2014.

Led by Aaron Murray and the vaunted running back duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, the Dawgs will also have its entire starting offensive line back in 2013.

It's a different story on defense. Though defensive coordinator Todd Grantham decided to stay in Athens after flirting with the NFL, several key contributors are off to the pros -- Sanders Cummings, Kwame Geathers, John Jenkins, Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo and Cornelius Washington.

The timing
Most FBS coaches would agree that an FCS opponent would be an ideal opponent to kickoff the season with, buy fans usually approve. Clemson will return most of its pieces from last year's offense that finished 9th in the country while Georgia will be breaking in several first-year starters. This one has the makings of turning into a viewer-friendly shootout. And the ESPN GameDay folks are very well-aware of that.

S.C. State - Saturday, Sept. 7

Their previous opponent: N/A

Quick preview
In Clemson's last game against South Carolina State, Tommy Bowden was less than a month away from losing his job. The Tigers won, 54-0.

The timing
It's an ideal opponent for Clemson after the tough season opener, just incase there is any kind of a hangover lingering from week one.

at N.C. State - Thursday, Sept. 19

Dave Doeren takes over for Tom O'Brien at N.C. State.
Their previous opponent: BYE

Quick preview
Gone from last year's N.C. State team is the head coach, starting quarterback Mike Glennon and a majority of the starting offensive line. The defense wasn't hit nearly as hard. Over there, seven starters will return, including three along the line.

Dave Doren, the replacement for Tom O'Brien, ran an up-tempo, spread option attack at Northern Illinois. But Doren has a background as a defensive coach. Prior to becoming a head coach, he served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Wisconsin.

During Clemson's previous visit to N.C. State [2011], the Wolfpack won, 37-13.

The timing
Neither team will have to worry about a quick turnaround with the ACC giving out open weeks to teams playing on Thursday nights. It will be the first conference game for both teams.

Wake Forest - Saturday, Sept. 28

Their previous opponent: at Army

Quick preview
Led by Jim Grobe, Wake Forest returns plenty from last year's team that finished with an overall record of 5-7.

Starting quarterback Tanner Price, running backs Josh Harris and Deandre Martin will be back in 2013. So will leading receiver Michael Campanaro.

Back on the defensive side of the ball are the top three tacklers from 2012 -- Justin Jackson, A.J. Marshall and Mike Olson.

In the previous game against Wake Forest in Clemson, Chandler Catanzaro clinched the Tigers' spot in the 2011 ACC Championship game with a 43-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.

The timing
Clemson will have the luxury of playing one more home game before heading off to upstate New York for a visit to Syracuse.

at Syracuse - Saturday, Oct. 5

Their previous opponent: BYE

Quick preview
First-year ACC member Syracuse will have several new pieces in place when they open the season against Penn State.

Head coach Doug Marrone has moved on to the Buffalo Bills. Quarterback Ryan Nassib will be joining him in the NFL in two months. Also gone from the offense are the top two receivers and the left-side of the starting offensive line. Also gone are a backup quarterback, two backup offensive linemen and a reserve tight.

The defense returns six starters.

The timing
It will be an all orange affair when Clemson welcomes Syracuse to the league for ACC play. Some Clemson fans are already grumbling about Syracuse having an open week before the game.

Boston College - Saturday, Oct. 12

Chase Rettig threw for 341 yards and 3 TDs vs. Clemson last year.
Their previous opponent: Army

Quick preview
Aside from the departure of ACC teleconference favorite, head coach Frank Spaziani, Boston College will welcome back lots of personnel returns from last season's 2-10 team.

Quarterback Chase Rettig is back. So is his favorite wide receiver, Alex Amidon. Both gave the Clemson defense plenty of headaches last season in Chestnut Hill.

The defense, which ranked third-worst in the ACC in 2012, welcomes back nine starters.

The timing
Clemson won't have a bye week before welcoming Florida State to town the following week. With all teams into conference play by this point in the season, playing Boston College is the next best thing to an open week.

Clemson beat Boston College 36-14 in 2011, the Eagles' previous trip to Tigertown. Top Stories