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Clemson's ACC football schedule revealed for 2020 season

Game Day online 48.jpg (copy)

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney walks into the Superdome ahead of what turned into a 42-25 loss to LSU in the College Football Playoff national championship game in New Orleans on Jan. 13. Swinney aims to lead Clemson back to the national title game in 2020. Andrew J. Whitaker/ Staff

CLEMSON — Clemson will open the 2020 season on the road.

In a rematch of last season's opener, the Tigers will play at Georgia Tech on Sept 3, which is a Thursday. Clemson then returns home to host Louisville on Sept. 12, marking the first time the program will have opened a season with back-to-back conference games since 2004. 

Coach Dabo Swinney's team's ACC schedule was revealed Wednesday morning, but its non-conference slate has been out for some time and includes a home contest against Akron (Sept. 19), which Clemson has never played before. The Tigers also host The Citadel (Nov. 14) and South Carolina (Nov 28).

The team's toughest challenge likely comes Nov. 7, when the Tigers play at Notre Dame in what will be the programs' fifth meeting all-time. Clemson last defeated the Fighting Irish, 30-3, in the 2018 Cotton Bowl. The Tigers have won their previous three matchups with Notre Dame, which went 11-2 this past season, including a 33-9 victory over Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl.

On Sept. 26, the Tigers host Virginia in a rematch of last season's ACC Championship, which Clemson won, 62-17. Swinney's team has won four in a row against the Cavaliers.

From there, the Tigers begin a two-game road trip, starting at Boston College on Oct. 2. After that Friday game, Clemson heads to Tallahassee, Florida to play Florida State on Oct. 10. 

Clemson then hosts N.C. State (Oct. 17) and Syracuse (Oct. 24) — two teams it blew it out in 2019 — before an open date carries the Tigers into the Notre Dame game.

The Tigers have an active winning streak against every team on their schedule, aside from Akron.

Clemson fell to LSU, 42-25, in the College Football Playoff national championship on Jan. 13. Next season Clemson will aim to win its third national title in four seasons.

"We're going to have a really, really good football team next year," Swinney said. "We got tons of guy back."

Returners includes quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne, both of whom will be favorites for the Heisman Trophy award. 

Clemson will play 10 Power 5 programs in 2020. Since 2013, the Tigers have won 76 games against such teams, seven more than any other program in the country. 

Questions about strength of schedule shadowed Clemson all of last season, and it's unlikely this coming season will be different, given the ACC's stature compared to the SEC and the Big Ten. 

The ACC Championship game is scheduled for Dec. 5 in Charlotte, N.C. 

Clemson's 2020 schedule

Sept. 3 (Thu.) at Georgia Tech

Sept. 12  Louisville

Sept. 19  Akron

Sept. 26  Virginia

Oct. 2 (Fri.)  at Boston College

Oct. 10  at Florida State

Oct. 17  N.C. State

Oct. 24  Syracuse

Nov. 7  at Notre Dame

Nov. 14  The Citadel

Nov. 21  at Wake Forest

Nov. 28  South Carolina

Follow Joshua Needelman on Twitter at @joshneedelman.

Joshua Needelman covers Clemson for The Post and Courier. He's a Long Island, N.Y., native and a University of Maryland graduate.

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