Ranking Clemson's 2015 Schedule

CUTigers publisher Roy Philpott ranks Clemson's 2015 schedule from worst to first.

12. WAKE FOREST - It's year two of the Dave Clawson era and it's year two of a five-year rebuilding project. The Deacs are lacking talent in many key areas and especially in the trenches. While last year's game was close - it was in Winston-Salem on a Thursday night without Deshaun Watson.

11. WOFFORD - The Terriers are always tough out, especially against in-state schools. The Tigers should be OK in this one - it's their season opener after all- but Mike Ayers will have his team ready to play.

10. APPALACHIAN STATE - Sophomore QB Taylor Lamb was the Sun Belt Conference freshman of the year a season ago and the Mountaineers return more starters (20) than any other team in the country in 2015! Fortunately, Armanti Edwards and the rest of the crew that one three-straight FCS National Championships are long gone.

9. BOSTON COLLEGE - Steve Adazzio has done a good job at BC and continues to build for the future. But this season the Eagles welcome just nine returning starters back to chilly Chesnut Hill, which is one of the lowest numbers in the FBS ranks. The fact that the Tigers get BC at home makes it even more manageable.

8. AT SYRACUSE - Syracuse returns just 11 returning starters - but it's important to note the Orange did challenge the Tigers last year in Death Valley. A healthy Deshaun Watson should prevent any chance of an upset here.

7. AT MIAMI - Clemson's last two trips to face the 'Canes featured thrilling, overtime wins (2004, '09). Miami has NFL talent at many positions but lacks the cohesiveness and to emerge as an ACC contender. Clemson will be favored in this October matchup, but this trip to the sunshine state will be anything but a walk in the park.

6. AT N.C. STATE - The Wolfpack are better under third-year head coach Dave Doeren and QB Jacoby Brissett is really coming into his own. Clemson shutout State last year at home 41-0, but a road trip to Carter-Finley promises to be intriguing this season.

5. GEORGIA TECH - The Yellow Jackets feature one of the top quarterbacks in the country in Justin Thomas and are the defending Orange Bowl champions after dismantling Mississippi State. There are some questions on defense so the Tigers should put up points. Additionally, Tech has beaten Clemson just once in Death Valley since 2004, and that came in Dabo Swinney's first game as the Tigers' interim coach in 2008.

4. AT SOUTH CAROLINA - South Carolina has questions at quarterback and on defense again this season, but Clemson hasn't won in Columbia since 2007. Is this a game the Tigers should win? Yes. But until they end their road losing streak to Gamecocks, it's still a tough trip.

3. FLORIDA STATE - We all remember the last time the 'Noles came Death Valley but most of the star power from that game, including QB Jameis Winston, WR Rashad Greene, CB Ronald Darby and DE Mario Edwards are long gone. The Tigers held FSU to -13 rushing years through four quarters in Tallahassee a year ago before falling in overtime. With Winston gone, this won't be the same in 2015.

2. NOTRE DAME - The Fighting Irish will have the top offensive line on Clemson's schedule and feature plenty of talent and depth at all the skill positions - especially quarterback, where Mailk Zaire and South Carolina native Everett Golson will battle it out for starting duties. WR Will Fuller is one of the top wide outs the Tigers will face and the Irish are always well coached under Brian Kelly.

1. AT LOUISVILLE - There's not a lot to like about this game. For starters its on a Thursday night and it represents Clemson's first road game of the year. For those wondering, Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino has lost just twice at home in his two stints with the Cardinals. Additionally, Louisville was a play away from beating the Tigers in Death Valley a year ago. While most of last year's stars, including first-round pick WR Devonte Parker and the majority of those talented playmakers in the secondary are gone, this is still a dangerous game. If Watson is healthy, this should be a Clemson win, but don't expect it to come without a serious fight.

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