Eleven of the last 16 meetings between the two teams have been decided by a touchdown or less, including the 31-28 Georgia victory in Athens last year. Georgia finished third in the final AP poll and should be ranked in a similar position to open the 2003 season. The highest ranked team Clemson has faced in a season opener is a number-four Oklahoma team in 1963. When Clemson meets Georgia it will be the first time Clemson has opened at home against an SEC team since 1971 when Clemson opened at home against Kentucky.
Clemson will play each of its first three games at home, all against non-conference opponents. Furman will travel to Death Valley for a September 6 contest. It will be the first meeting between the two state rivals since 1998 when Clemson won 33-0. The two teams met in the first game in Clemson football history back in 1896. The Tigers will face Middle Tennessee at home on September 13th.
It will be the first ever meeting between the two schools. Clemson's ACC opener will be at Georgia Tech. It will be the second straight year Clemson has opened the ACC portion of the slate against the Yellow Jackets. Clemson won the game at Death Valley last year, 24-19. It marked the seventh straight year the two teams have played a game decided by five points or less. Clemson has won each of the last two meetings between the two schools.
After an open date Clemson will travel to Maryland for an October 4 game. It will be Clemson's earliest trip to Maryland since the 1990 season when Clemson defeated Maryland 18-17 in Baltimore Memorial Stadium on September the 15th.The Maryland game will begin a stretch of three straight games for the Tigers against league foes who finished the 2002 season ranked in the top 25 of both polls. Clemson will play host to Virginia on October 11th, then travel to NC State on October 18th. Clemson will take a seven-game winning streak in road games in the Tar Heel state into that contest.
Clemson will play three of its last five games at home versus teams it has defeated 14 out of 20 contests over the last four years. Clemson meets North Carolina on October 25, then travels to Wake Forest for a November 1 game. Clemson is 4-0 lifetime against the Demon Deacons on that date in history, including three wins in Winston-Salem. The fifth meeting between the Bowdens will take place at Death Valley on November 8 when Clemson plays host to Florida State, then Clemson will conclude its home schedule against Duke on November 15. Duke has not won at Clemson since 1980.
The regular season concludes on November 22 when Clemson travels to Columbia to face state rival South Carolina. Clemson has won five of the last six meetings with South Carolina and holds a 60-36-4 edge in the 100-game series. "This is another outstanding schedule with five teams that finished in the final top 25 and seven teams that played in a bowl game in 2002," said Head Coach Tommy Bowden, whose Tigers faced the 15th toughest schedule in the nation in 2002 according to the Sagarin rankings.
"Death Valley will be at a fever pitch from the opening kickoff of the season when Georgia comes to town. I know every one of our players and coaches, and all of our fans are looking forward to that game. Georgia should be one of the top teams in the nation according to the preseason rankings for 2003.
"We certainly have a challenging home schedule with games against three teams that will be preseason top 20 selections. All four of our ACC road games will be against teams that played in bowl games last year. There is balance in this schedule in that we never have to go on the road on consecutive weekends. The open date comes at a good place in the schedule."
Clemson Football Schedule for 2003
Date Opponent Aug. 30 GEORGIA Sept. 6 FURMAN Sept. 13 MIDDLE TENNESSEE Sept. 20 at Georgia Tech Sept. 27 OPEN DATE Oct. 4 at Maryland Oct. 11 VIRGINIA Oct. 18 at N.C. State Oct. 25 NORTH CAROLINA Nov. 1 at Wake Forest Nov. 8 FLORIDA STATE Nov. 15 DUKE Nov. 22 at South CarolinaNote: Special date designations will be released at a later date.