Clemson University released its 2012 football schedule Monday, which will give the Tigers a chance to defend their conference title and defeat familiar foes.
As reigning Atlantic Coast Conference champions, the Tigers have a strong home season ahead, with seven games at home, including the last three games of the season.
The first game is set for Sept. 1 in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic against the Auburn Tigers. This is the third-straight season the Tigers will face each other and the first time they will meet at a neutral site.
Auburn defeated Clemson at Auburn in overtime in 2010, on the way to its BCS National Championship, while Clemson defeated Auburn in 2011 at Clemson. This is only the second time in the last 10 years that Clemson has not opened the season at home, previously playing in Atlanta against Alabama in 2008.
Clemson's other non-conference games include Ball State on Sept. 8, Furman on Sept. 15, and of course, the Palmetto State Rivalry against South Carolina on Nov. 24. All three games are at home.
Additionally, the Furman-Clemson rivalry is the oldest in Clemson history - the two teams first met on Oct. 31, 1896 in Greenville. This will be Furman's first game against the Tigers since the 2007 season.
The Tigers begin defense of the ACC title with their first away game at Florida State on Sept. 22, followed by a trip to Boston on Sept. 29 to take on Boston College.
Clemson returns home to host division rival Georgia Tech on Oct. 6 before a week off to prepare for Virginia Tech at home on Oct. 20.
"I like where the open date falls because it is
virtually in the middle of the season," said Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney."
The Tigers then travel to the state of North Carolina back-to-back weeks to take on Wake Forest on Oct. 25 and Duke on Nov. 3. The Wake Forest game comes five days after Virginia Tech, as the Tigers will face the Demon Deacons for the Thursday night ESPN game.
To close out their season, the Tigers face Maryland on Nov. 10, North Carolina State on Nov. 17, and South Carolina on Nov. 24. Clemson looks to beat Maryland for the third straight time for the first time since the 1993 to 2000 era.
"This is a challenging schedule with two
non-conference games against very good SEC teams and the eight ACC games," Swinney said. "We are the only ACC school to play two games against SEC teams and two of
our division cross over games are with Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, who won
19 games between them last year."
The Tigers are finishing the season with three straight home games for only the third time since 1975.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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