Earlier this week Clemson football was named as a field goal favorite over the Florida State Seminoles when the two knock heads in late September in Death Valley.
Now, the Tigers have been installed as double-digit favorites in their opener on Labor Day night on the road in Durham, North Carolina.
Clemson is getting the honor, and I use that term loosely, of playing on Labor Day night for the second straight year, having faced Georgia Tech to kick off the 2022 season in what turned out to be a ho-hum 41-10 win.
This year’s opener could turn out to be much closer as the odds makers have installed the Tigers as 11-point favorites in the game.
The Blue Devils have largely been lucky enough to avoid the Tigers during Clemson’s rise to dominance, losing 56-20 in Durham in 2012 and 35-6 in Clemson in 2018 and Clemson has dominated the overall series.
Duke is a darling headed into the 2023 season and it says a lot about the ACC that the powers that be decided it would be the Blue Devils that face the Tigers instead of another ACC team.
The powers that be opted to skip over North Carolina and Miami in favor of Duke, despite the game being played at Wallace-Wade Stadium on the Duke campus. Not exactly a big-time atmosphere.
I understand not scheduling North Carolina as the two teams just played in the ACC Championship Game.
On the other hand, Miami is supposed to be the next great thing, so one wonders if those in charge don’t want to saddle the Hurricanes with a loss right out of the box.
All that said, the Blue Devils are coming off an impressive 9-4 season and a Military Bowl win over UCF.
Clemson football pulverized two of the four teams that beat Duke in 2022
The four losses were to Kansas, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Pittsburgh.
Three of those four losses were close, but on the other hand Clemson crushed two teams that Duke lost to, Georgia Tech and North Carolina.
Hope springs eternal when an upstart has an above average season, but Duke does not have the athletes the Tigers will display all over the field.
Sitting here in late February that 11 points looks mighty doable to me.