Thursday, June 16, 2016

Clemson 2016 opponent preview: S.C. State solid among its peers, but Tigers unbeaten by FCS foes

CLEMSON, South Carolina — Last year, Clemson hit the Big 3-0. (Did you get them a Hallmark card?)

The way Dabo Swinney wants to construct his non-conference schedule works like this: one game vs. South Carolina, one game vs. another high-profile opponent usually from the SEC or Notre Dame, one game vs. a mid-major FBS opponent, and one FCS game in which the Tigers pay off a lower-division squad to lose by many, many touchdowns.

With this plan, Clemson has beaten at least one FCS team each of the last nine years, and holds a 30-0 record against the Football Championship Subdivision members. In all of Division I football, Clemson has the most wins against FCS opponents without a loss.

It’s a slightly impressive distinction; on the one hand, the number is inflated by Clemson’s annual commitment to devote one home game per year to the in-state FCS programs on a rotating basis, and frankly, the deck is stacked for good FBS teams not to lose to even the most competitive of FCS visitors. (Other power programs like Oklahoma State, Auburn, Baylor, Florida State, Texas A&M and Georgia have at least 15 FCS victories without a defeat.) On the other hand, the Tigers have never slipped up where several colleagues have, so credit is due for that.


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