An ACC showdown headlines on Labor Day night as No. 9 Clemson meets Duke in a game that will serve as both the season opener and conference opener for each program. It also marks the first meeting between the Tigers and Blue Devils since 2018.
For Clemson, this marks the second-straight season that Dabo Swinney’s squad is taking center stage on Labor Day and the fourth-straight year that the Tigers are playing their first game away from Memorial Stadium’s friendly confines. They opened their 2022 campaign with a 41-10 win against Georgia Tech in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Tigers are also beginning their ACC title defense against the Blue Devils. Duke, meanwhile, is coming off its best season in almost a decade and hopes to carry that momentum with a statement win in a prime time slot.
Duke and Clemson’s last meeting, five years ago, resulted in a 35-6 win for the Tigers. Clemson has won each of the last five showdowns, dating back to 2005, and holds a 37-16-1 overall advantage. Swinney is 2-0 against Duke.
Clemson and Duke played annually from 1965-2005, though the series ended when the ACC split into the Atlantic and Coastal divisions. With the ACC’s new 3-5-5 scheduling model taking the place of divisions, Clemson and Duke will face off twice over the next four years, starting Monday.
Follow along LIVE with updates from Monday’s game between Clemson and Duke
How to watch Clemson vs. Duke live
Date: Monday, Sept. 4 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Wallace Wade Stadium — Durham, North Carolina
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fubo (Try for free)
Clemson vs. Duke: Need to know
Clemson’s new-look offense: Swinney did something almost unheard of this offseason: He went outside of his own program for a coordinator hire. Swinney hadn’t looked elsewhere for help in that capacity since 2012 when he poached Brent Venables from Oklahoma to run his defense. Safe to say that worked out well for both sides. Now Swinney’s gambling on another up-and-coming former Big 12 coach in Garrett Riley as his new offensive coordinator. Riley played a huge role in TCU’s 2022 run to the College Football Playoff and the hope is that he can energize a Clemson offense that’s been subpar since Trevor Lawrence left for the NFL.
What does Duke do for an encore? Mike Elko blew everyone’s expectations out of the water in Year 1 as Duke’s coach, leading the Blue Devils to an 8-4 regular season and capping that with a blowout win against UCF in the Military Bowl. It was Duke’s first time winning nine games since 2014, its first postseason win since 2018 and its highest finish in the ACC Coastal standings (T-2nd) in eight years. Next on the list? Giving Duke its first ranked finish since 2013, and just the second since the turn of the century.
Streaks on the line: Swinney is 12-2 in season openers, with both of those losses coming against Georgia. He has never lost a season-opening game against an ACC opponent and Clemson has won each of its last eight ACC openers, regardless of when they land on the schedule. Duke, meanwhile, is 0-13 in season-opening games against nationally ranked opponents. A Duke win would simultaneously end multiple extensive streaks, with very different implications.
Clemson vs. Duke prediction, picks
People seem to be forgetting about Duke’s success in its first season under Elko. Not only that, but Duke returns a whopping 17 starters — more than any other ACC program — off that 9-4 team, including star quarterback Riley Leonard. Elko’s squad is also catching Clemson at the perfect time, before it has a chance to establish any sort of rhythm under Riley. Clemson is too talented to confidently predict a total upset here, but Duke at least covering seems like a reasonable bet. Prediction: Duke +13
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