Keep in mind, these aren't predictions on which team will win the game, but more of a reflection of what the point spread will be. Also remember, for whatever reason, right or wrong, odds makers love Clemson.
Starting after the 2005 game at Georgia Tech and running through the end of the 2007 season, the Tigers were underdogs only twice- both times coming against Florida State (Clemson won both of those games in case you were wondering).
Last season, the Tigers were not an underdog until after the coaching change on Oct. 13. Following Tommy Bowden's resignation, Clemson would be underdogs each of the next three weeks against Georgia Tech (2.5 points), at Boston College (3) and at Florida State (3).
Here's a quick glance at the 2009 schedule, with projected point spreads included:
SEPT. 5: MIDDLE TENNESSEE: Before you mark this one as a definite win, remember the Blue Raiders did something last year the Tigers could not - beat Maryland. By 10. While it came in Murfeesboro, Tenn., you have to think head coach and former Clemson assistant Rick Stockstill would love nothing more than to beat his former employer.
PROJECTED FAVORITE: Tigers by 17
SEPT. 10: AT GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets lose most of their defensive line, which was littered with NFL caliber talent, in 2009. That obviously helps Clemson's chances in its first conference game of the year. Playing in Atlanta on a Thursday night, however, will not. It's hard to believe but the Tigers have not beaten Georgia Tech on the road since 2003- a 39-3 Clemson romp.
PROJECTED FAVORITE: Tech by 3
SEPT. 19: BOSTON COLLEGE: With a new head coach in Frank Spaziani, but a dearth of talent, the Boston College Eagles are not the same team they have been in recent years on their way to consecutive Atlantic Division championships. Chances are the Tigers will be more than a touchdown favorite here. Matt Ryan, B.J. Raji and Andre Calledar- where are you?
PROJECTED FAVORITE: Tigers by 8
SEPT. 26: IDADO: The Vandals, who will likely be announced as Clemson's opponent in a few weeks in place of Central Michigan, are one of the worst teams in all of the FBS, so this amounts to what should be a nice tune-up before a tough trip to College Park the next week.
PROJECTED FAVORITE: Tigers by 23
OCT. 3: AT MARYLAND: The Tigers have won their last two trips to Byrd Stadium, including a romp in their last appearance in 2007. Meanwhile Maryland loses most of what many would consider to be the ACC's top offensive line in 2008. Keep in mind, it's Ralph Friedgen and for whatever reason, Friedgen game-plans Clemson as well as he does any other team in the league. Early losses at California and at home to Rutgers will make Clemson a favorite in this game.
PROJECTED FAVORITE: Tigers by 3
OCT. 17: WAKE FOREST: Two future NFL stars in Alphonso Smith and Aaron Curry are gone, but QB Riley Skinner returns for what seems like his seventh season. The Deacs won't be as formidable as they've been in recent years under Jim Grobe in 2009. This game should remind Clemson fans more of the 2007 matchup in Death Valley instead of last season's dismal 12-7 loss in Winston-Salem.
PROJECTED FAVORITE: Tigers by 6
OCT. 24: AT MIAMI: The Hurricanes are loaded with talent, but questions surrounding head coach Randy Shannon and his ever-changing staff have college football experts around the country scratching their collective heads. A tough early schedule (at FSU, Georgia Tech, at Virginia Tech, Oklahoma) could drastically alter the outlook of this team by the time October rolls around, but Miami gets the nod as the favorite, for now.
PROJECTED FAVORITE: 'Canes by 6
OCT. 31: COASTAL CAROLINA: If there's anything close to a tune-up game in late October, this would be it. Somebody in the ACC was looking out for the Tigers this year to have this game sandwiched between Miami and Florida State.
PROJECTED FAVORITE: Tigers by 27
NOV. 7: FLORIDA STATE: No longer the laughing stock of the league with an offense directed by Jeff Bowden, Florida State will look more like it did when it was routinely winning ACC Championships compared to the team of the last four years in 2009. This should be the most difficult matchup on the Tigers' schedule this year as Clemson is a rare home underdog.
PROJECTED FAVORITE: 'Noles by 5
NOV. 14: AT N.C. STATE: Considering QB Russell Wilson will have almost played half of his career in Raleigh by this point, it seems reasonable to think State will be a much tougher opponent that what it has been the last four years. Still, Clemson has owned N.C. State as of late and the Wolfpack simply N.C. haven't recruited well in recent years.
PROJECTED FAVORITE: Tigers by 8
NOV. 21: VIRGINIA: The Cavs have taken a backseat to ACC power Virginia Tech for years now and this may finally be the season it catches up with head coach Al Groh. In fact, don't be surprised if Virginia takes a backseat to Duke this season in the Coastal Division.
PROJECTED FAVORITE: Tigers by 16
NOV 28: AT SOUTH CAROLINA: Unfortunately for South Carolina fans, 2009 could easily be the worst of the ole Ball Coach era- primarily because of the schedule. Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Clemson are all losses, while road trips to Tennessee, Arkansas and N.C. State are treacherous at best. And there's that pesky little team from Nashville. Surely, Vanderbilt can't make it three in a row, can it? All the talent in the world can't seem to rescue this program from mediocrity.
PROJECTED FAVORITE: Tigers by 11
Who will be favored?
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