Clemson Tigers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date and Time: Saturday, August 30 , 5:30pm EST
Where: Sanford Stadium – Athens, Georgia
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Clem +7.5/UGA -7.5
Over/Under Total: 57.7
It is finally here!!!! College football season has arrived! I dont know about you guys but I have looked forward to this day ever since the moment Florida State hoisted last season’s crystal football. This season will be a historical one for us all….we will witness the first ever NCAA Division I College Football Playoffs! But the only way to get to that final, legit, National Championship game, we must first get this season started. As far as week one match-ups, this game is very intriguing and a win or loss in this contest could make or break either team’s shot of making the Final Four. The 16th ranked Clemson Tigers will claw their way into a rowdy Sanford Stadium on Saturday night when they face the 12th ranked Georgia Bulldogs. This was a week one match-up last season that I actually attended in Death Valley, Clemson. The Tigers found themselves on the winning side of a 38-35 game that was very exciting down to the very end. Both teams are undergoing major changes both on the field and on the sidelines, but both fan bases still have high expectations for both programs in the 2014 campaign.
I will say this up front, I am a Georgia fan, have been since birth. I have attended over 100 regular season games, 3 SEC Title games, and a bowl game to cheer on my dawgs. Georgia is undergoing some roster and coaching changes, but in my opinion they are all for the best with the exception of the loss of quarterback Aaron Murray of course. Georgia upgraded at defensive coordinator hiring Jeremy Pruitt who designed the defense for the national champion Florida State Seminoles. That was the main coaching change, but the team’s roster has seen many changes, especially on defense. Defensive starters Josh Harvey-Clemons and Trey Matthews have already been dismissed by coach Mark Richt, and rumors are there is another starter on his way out very very soon. Jeremy Pruitt will have to work his magic on the young kids, but I believe his scheme will put them in the right places to make plays. And lets be honest..could the Georgia defense be any worse than last season? On the offensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs are stacked. Quarterback Hutson Mason has huge shoes to fill in his 5th year as a senior, but with weapons like Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, Justin Scott-Wesley (who will not play in the Clemson game), and Malcolm Mitchell, his job should not be too difficult. This offense will be explosive!! Trust me. The key to this game for Georgia is very simple….Defense. The Clemson offense will be as powerful as they were last year, but Georgia will still need to play solid defense to slow them down. If the Bulldogs can keep Clemson at 24 points or less, the Dogs win.
The Clemson Tigers, just like Georgia is replacing their quarterback and a few other play makers. Clemson also like the Bulldogs are still aiming high for this season and believe they still have a shot to compete for an ACC and potentially a national title. Clemson is replacing quarterback Taj Boyd this season with Cole Stoudt who just like Mason for Georgia, has some experience but not a large amount. Not only will the Tigers need Stoudt to step in and fill Boyd’s shoes, but the wide receivers will need to make up also for the loss of the explosive Sammy Watkins. Clemson comes into this season ranked 16th but with a win over Georgia, they could find themselves in or at least near the nation’s top ten. In order for Clemson to have a shot to get the win in Athens, they need their offense to click. Georgia is going to score regardless, Clemson will need to make some big plays in order to stay with Georgia, but with a few big plays on special teams and a forced turnover, things could get interesting.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: In all honesty I can see this game going either way. Both teams have unproven quarterbacks, and both teams also have plenty of question marks on the defensive side of the ball. Georgia comes in as a 7.5 point favorite at home. Last season Clemson won by 3 but Georgia’s defense was awful and Clemson had a much more explosive offense with Sammy Watkins and Taj Boyd. This is one of those lines that can trick some people. The average college football fan would look and think the easy money is on Clemson but lets take a closer look. Georgia has a much more talented roster, a new defensive coach that has given the program hope, and a mid evening game time in front of nearly 100,000 barking Georgia fans. I think Vegas wants the money to be on Clemson, therefore I am taking Georgia to win this one by two scores. Georgia defeats Clemson 37-23 in Athens and the Dawgs cover the 7.5 PICK: GEORGIA -7.5