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Did Clemson’s AD drop a hint about a non-conference series with Tennessee?


NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers are set to resume their series on the non-conference college football schedule. Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said that an announcement could come as soon as this summer.

But buried in his comments were a possible clue about a potential Clemson—Tennessee series. Totally unprovoked, Radakovich mentioned Tennessee in the same breath as Georgia and Auburn, each of whom Clemson plays on the non-conference side.

“When you look at programs like Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee, really all of those great historical programs, which are close to us, it makes sense to play them,” Radakovich said. “As long as we can make it work from a schedule perspective it is a good thing for everybody.”

Hat tip to Michael Bratton from Saturdays Down South here.

Are we reading too much into this? Maybe. But it’s the offseason so we’ll entertain it. A Tennessee-Clemson series likely wouldn’t happen for some time, based off of how college football scheduling works. That would obviously give Jeremy Pruitt some time to flip the roster around and make a potential game against the Tigers a little less daunting.

Still, are we sure we want Tennessee to take on a non-conference opponent like this with Alabama and Georgia already guaranteed to be on the schedule? Maybe that will be a little less scary if Pruitt can restore the talent in Knoxville, but those three programs likely aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. That would be an absolutely brutal schedule to navigate.

Also, Bratton drops a note about a potential Battle at Bristol part two. Regionally, Clemson and Tennessee certainly make sense. With the wild success of part one, there’s no reason not to explore going back. Making it a once-a-decade type event makes sense to keep the interest and demand high.

Tennessee and Clemson have played just 19 times. The Vols lead the series all time with an 11-6-2 record. They last met in the 2004 Peach Bowl, where Clemson won 27-14.