After a disappointing end to the 2012 season versus the reigning National Champs Alabama, No. 5 ranked Georgia will play outstanding Saturday night in front of a national audience and a hostile Clemson Tigers fan base, to start out the 2013 season with a bang and most importantly (1-0). No. 8 ranked Clemson comes into the contest equally optimistic, after an outstanding 11-2 season last year and a huge victory over LSU in the Chik-fil-A Bowl. This game is without a question the biggest contest of college football’s opening weekend as both squads enter the game boasting top name quarterbacks (Aaron Murray and Tahj Boyd) and are two of the nation’s top ten ranking teams. Get ready for some fun.
The result of this ACC/SEC battle will have major implications involving the National Championship hopes of both programs, who are looking to take the next step earlier rather than later in the 2013 season. In addition to the passing attack, which is surely going to be a major factor for both programs Saturday night, players such as Clemson receivers Sammy Watkins and Malcom Mitchell/Georgia running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall provide each squad respective x-factors, in what will be a high scoring and intense opener– centered around high powered offense. Georgia surely has the advantage in the run game especially due to their experience on the offensive line, and the fact that both of these running backs have the ability to go to the house and control the tempo of the game; however the Tigers’ running back Roderick McDowell is legitimate threat as well and will be a big factor in taking the pressure off of Boyd early in the football game.
To the benefit of Clemson’s offense, Georgia has lost several major defensive stars to the NFL and are going through a rebuilding phase, however surely someone will step up for the Bulldogs and provide leadership. Players such as Jordan Jenkins at linebacker and defensive end Garrison Smith give them the best shot due to a defensive backfield that is rocky for the first week with the suspension of Josh Harvey-Clemons For Clemson, defensively improving upon last years’ horrible 71st ranked pass defense will be first priority,unfortunately however concerns can’t be too high as Georgia is going to pound the rock to keep QB Boyd off the field and the Clemson crowd base at ease. Clemson has three starters defensive line starters returning in : Grady Jarrett, Corey Crawford and Josh Watson and Vic Beasley comes into the picture as the fourth starter as he led the team in sacks last year. The front line is the strongest part of Clemson’s defense, and they will need to play like it Saturday night if they have any shot of stopping Aaron Murray and his athletic receiving core.
The Bottom Line: If your looking for offensive prowess this is the game to watch this weekend as this southern spectacle provides the perfect mixture of athletic skill position players and high profile quarterback play.In the end Georgia pulls away late behind RB Todd Gurley who begins to spark Heisman chatter early after taking control of the game on the ground with 100 plus yards and a duo of touchdowns. Georgia wins 31-21
The Georgia Bulldogs finished 2012 with an impressive 12-2 SU and 8-6 ATS record, pushing Alabama to the limit in the SEC Championship Game but falling just short of a BCS title shot with a 32-28 loss. They are also 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS in their past eight games as a road favorite.
Georgia Bulldogs Trends:
When playing in August are 4-1
When playing on grass are 9-1
After outgaining opponent are 8-2
When playing outside the conference are 8-2
Clemson Tigers Trends:
When playing in August are 0-4
When playing on grass are 7-3
After outgaining opponent are 7-3
When playing outside the conference are 7-3
A few Bulldogs at Tigers trends to consider:
Georgia is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games
Georgia is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Georgia’s last 7 games on the road
Clemson is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games
Clemson is 14-2 SU in its last 16 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Clemson’s last 7 games
Georgia home to South Carolina, Saturday, September 7
Clemson home to S. Carolina St, Saturday, September 7