CLEMSON - Don't be scared of the dark - on Thursday nights, at least. Not anymore.
Getting that call to appear on ESPN's Thursday Night Football used to be a ghastly proposition for Clemson football, which lost nine of its first ten Thursday nighters starting in 1998 and lasting over the next decade. The Tigers got beat at home by Georgia Tech and N.C. State, and lost numerous times at six different stadiums, including Wake Forest 12-7 in 2008.
Clemson then took a couple years off from Thursday night, and now the Tigers are a blazing 3-0 on that evening the past couple of seasons - including a 42-13 demolition of the Demon Deacons in 2012.
Don't expect another home game on Thursday night for awhile - sounds like Clemson won't be pressured into something the university doesn't prefer for a long time. But now and again, the Tigers will have a mid-week roadie, which actually isn't that bad of news as sort of an "extra" bye week.
And in this year's case, it'll mean an extra couple days to prepare for Georgia Tech, which Brent Venables won't turn down.
Opponent preview No. 1: Georgia
Opponent preview No. 2: S.C. State
Opponent preview No. 3: Florida State
Opponent preview No. 4: North Carolina
Opponent preview No. 5: North Carolina State
Opponent preview No. 6: Louisville
Opponent preview No. 7: Boston College
Opponent preview No. 8: Syracuse
Game 9: No. 22* Clemson at Wake Forest, Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Wake Forest coach: Dave Clawson (first season)
Returning starters: 8 (three offense, five defense)
2013 record: 4-8, 2-6 ACC; 6th ACC Atlantic
Scoring offense: 18.3 points per game (116th in FBS)
Scoring defense: 24.1 points allowed (38th)
Series: Clemson leads 61-17-1, including 22-10-1 in Winston-Salem
Last meeting: Clemson 56, Wake Forest 7 (Sept. 28, 2013) http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20130928/PC20/130929348
Golden Nugget line: Clemson by 20
Opposing beat writer to follow: N/A
Three things to know about Wake Forest
1. New head man: It was just time for a change. The ACC's only team with a 5-year streak of losing seasons, Wake Forest needed to move on from Jim Grobe, who owns the program's only 10-win campaign back in 2006. How quickly can Dave Clawson, the owner of a 32-31 record at Bowling Green and a man still seeking his first bowl victory, turn around the Demon Deacons? Err . might not want to answer that. Wake hauled in the ACC's worst recruiting class in February, per Rivals.com, and was one of two schools in the league (Duke) not to woo a 4- or 5-star prospect.
2. Bare cupboard: Only eight starters return from last year's outfit, with three offensive linemen and three defensive backs highlighting the positions of experience. There's no reason to expect crazy success out of Wake Forest in 2014, especially since some key veterans were lost in quarterback Tanner Price, wide receiver Michael Campanaro and defensive tackle Nikita Whitlock.
3. Trap door: Yeah, it's a game to watch on Clemson's schedule, because it is a night game at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem on Thursday night, a national TV scene which often has given top teams trouble on the road. And again, Clemson is just 3-7 on the road on Thursday night. But Wake Forest had a 24-18 record in night games under Grobe, nothing to write home about. Clemson is working on a 5-game streak against Wake Forest, winning four of those five quite comfortably.
Week before: Syracuse
Next week: @Georgia Tech
On the horizon: South Carolina