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Breaking Down the 2013 Clemson Tigers Football Schedule

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Breaking Down the 2013 Clemson Tigers Schedule

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Coming in at No. 8 on the Rant Sports’ top 100 rankings and the fact that they are returning quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide out Sammy Watkins is the main reason for that.

Two guys that could be possible Heisman candidates playing on the same team is rare, but that’s exactly what Boyd and Watkins are. They are a dynamic duo that undoubtedly can put up monster points and look good doing it. Boyd, a senior, passed for nearly 3,900 yards last season to go along with 36 touchdowns and 13 interceptions – making a difficult, but smart, choice to return for his senior season.

Watkins had a bit of a sophomore slump in 2012, catching 57 passes for 708 yards and three touchdowns. Just how good can he be? Well, his freshman season in 2011 saw him catch 82 passes for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns. This guy is an athletic freak that can become one of the best receivers in school history.

Enough about the electrifying offense, the defense isn’t too far behind, but giving up 24.8 points per game last season could use some improvement. They did finish second in the ACC in sacks (21) and that could bode well for a strong ACC title run in 2013.

With many key returning players on both sides of the ball, the Tigers look to be playing with a huge target on their back during conference battles. This team has a good chance to go unbeaten, but there are three main obstacles standing in their way.

Let’s see how the Tigers look for the 2013 season and how their schedule plays out.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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Aug. 31: Georgia

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia and quarterback Aaron Murray will surely give the Clemson Tigers a big early season battle and that is exactly what college football fans want to hear. In one of the first games of the 2013 season, the Tigers will host Georgia in what will look to have BCS title implications.

PREDICTION: Georgia 37, Clemson 31

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Sept. 7: South Carolina State

south carolina state
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina State, not to be confused with South Carolina, will be an easy early-season contest for the Tigers. Boyd and Watkins will have a field day.

PREDICTION: South Carolina State 3, Clemson 52

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Sept. 19: at North Carolina State

nc state
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing their early-season dominance of the Carolinas, the Tigers travel to North Carolina State to take on the Wolfpack. The Tigers will take care of business like they should and toy with the team that's returning just 10 starters from last year.

PREDICTION: Clemson 41, NC State 17

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Sept. 28: Wake Forest

wake forest
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Wake Forest has never really been known for football and 2013 will be no different. However, they are returning 16 starters including Tanner Price. Head coach Jim Grobe is looking to overcome mediocrity and contend in the ACC.

PREDICTION: Wake Forest 18, Clemson 38

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Oct. 5: at Syracuse

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse is coming off an 8-5 season and they are under new leadership with Scott Shafer taking over the new head coaching role. Losing Ryan Nassib will be tough to overcome and the mediocre offense from 2012 just got a bit more mediocre.

PREDICTION: Clemson 34, Syracuse 7

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Oct. 12: Boston College

boston college
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College hasn't seen a solid season since the Matt Ryan days and I can bet you that Eagles fans are wishing they could rewind time. Finishing up a 2-10 season in 2012, the Eagles will look to avenge some of their embarrassing losses, but they just aren't ready to be solid yet.

PREDICTION: Boston College 10, Clemson 31

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Oct. 19: Florida State

florida state
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State coming to town will mean one thing: big hype. The freshman sensation from Florida State in Jameis Winston will likely still be the subject of conversation going into the game, but Boyd will show the country what kind of difference experience can produce.

PREDICTION: Florida State 33, Clemson 38

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Oct. 26: at Maryland

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland is in its last season as members of the ACC and a big win at home against Clemson could seem the school off right. However, the Tigers are just too talented, even for the team returning starting quarterback C.J. Brown and all-around talent in wide out Stefon Diggs.

PREDICTION: Clemson 35, Maryland 21

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Nov. 2: at Virginia

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Hitting the road once again for its second straight road game, Clemson travels to Virginia to take on the Cavaliers in what seems like another easy game on the schedule. The Tigers might already be looking forward to the final game of the season against South Carolina at this point, but they will have just enough focus to pull off a win on the road.

PREDICTION: Clemson 38, Virginia 27

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Nov. 14: Georgia Tech

georgia tech
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech is returning 15 starters from its 7-7 team from last season. While their record doesn't seem very impressive -- which it isn't at all -- it was still good enough to put the Yellow Jackets in first place in the ACC Coastal Division. They will be solid once again in 2013, but not solid enough to win a tougher ACC.

PREDICTION: Georgia Tech 24, Clemson 34

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Nov. 23: Citadel

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Citadel has never been known for taking down top FBS schools and this year will be no different. The Tigers will take this much needed easy game and run with it. Head coach Dabo Swinney will ensure that this doesn't act as a trap game.

PREDICTION: Citadel 6, Clemson 45

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Nov. 30: at South Carolina

south carolina
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson finally reaches its most anticipated game of the 2013 season, traveling to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks. Dabo Swinney has surely prepared for this game all season long, but winning on the road against a top SEC team chasing a conference title at the end of the season is an almost impossible task.

PREDICTION: Clemson 25, South Carolina 31

Clemson finishes 10-2 and wins the ACC title in thrilling fashion.