5 most important games for Clemson Football in 2024

Conference games will be the key to reaching the College Football Playoff in 2024, but that doesn't mean rivalries or trap games can't derail an otherwise nice season.
Sep 23, 2023; Clemson, South Carolina, USA
Sep 23, 2023; Clemson, South Carolina, USA / Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
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No. 4: Appalachian State at Clemson

At the risk of spoiling this post for you, most of Clemson’s important games happen in the first half of the season. Head coach Dabo Swinney has rallied his squad to big finishes in two of the last three seasons. If things don’t go the Tigers’ way in September, he might need to do it again in 2024.

The trap during the first month is this contest in Death Valley in Week 2. Before it, the Tigers open the season against the Bulldogs. Following it, the Tigers host NC State and then soon travel to Florida State.

The natural worry here is that the team sees this as a home game against a regional Group of Five opponent. The reality is that Appalachian State is one of the best Group of Five programs in the country. They have been one of the pillars that has elevated the Sun Belt Conference from being the worst FBS conference in college football to being a league that other teams want to join to get more respectability.

I know Swinney and his staff are smart enough to take the Mountaineers seriously. I think the players should be as well. Nonetheless, this is the textbook definition of a trap game, and it is in Week 2. Scary.

Next: NC State at Clemson