With the 2020 Palmetto Bowl being canceled, does keeping the Citadel still make sense for Clemson football?
As we all know now, the SEC chickened out on all of their regular SEC vs ACC matchups in 2020 and that has left a hole in the Clemson football schedule. While the Tigers do not need to have an in-state matchup, does it make sense to keep FCS Citadel on the 2020 schedule?
This is a really tough question that has anything but a simple answer for Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich.
Clemson football has had a rotation of many of the state’s FCS programs over the years, presumably to help spread the money to the states smaller athletic departments. Sure, the kids may get their heads smashed for a paycheck, but they do get the thrill of playing in Death Valley at some point during their careers.
Last year when Wofford came to Clemson, they picked up a paycheck for $360,000. Not bad for a 45-minute drive down 85. The last time Clemson played Citadel, the Bulldogs were paid $300,000. Sure in major college football, that isn’t much, but for an FCS program, that is a pretty good check.
It doesn’t make sense for Clemson football to play Citadel
While this will upset Citadel fans and alumni, from a football perspective in 2020, it does not make sense for Clemson to keep the Bulldogs on the schedule for one very simple reason – College Football Playoff.
No other Power Five program will play an FCS school this season – at least not one that has any shot of getting to the College Football Playoff. With the ACC already being looked at as a cupcake conference and no way to show its strength by beating teams from the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 or Big XII in 2020, Clemson simply cannot afford to play a team outside the Power Five this season.
Clemson would be better off to just play 10 ACC games than to play 10 ACC games and an FCS opponent. Sure, it’s a thrill for the Bulldogs but not something Clemson can entertain in 2020.