What We Can Expect In Clemson-Georgia Tech
It's always sad when Labor Day gets here. It signals the unofficial end of the Summer, but then again it's not all bad. It's football from here until mid Winter! Let's get into the final game of a wild week 1 at Mercedes Benz Superdome tonight. Clemson is a 24 point favorite currently at Barstool Sportsbook with a total of 51.
The biggest question coming into the season for Clemson is, what will we see this year from junior quarterback DJ Uiagalelei? DJ was downright rough last year throwing more interceptions than passing touchdowns and only completing about 56 percent of his passes good for bottom 30's in America. In the end though Clemson still won 10 games but failed to win the ACC for the first time in 6 seasons. The news coming out of Clemson this season is that DJ is lighter weight wise, and coach Dabo Swinney has indicated they will play a more sped up offense. This generally feels like a major bounce back year for him. The goal should be to get him on the roll out, get him into open space and lighten up the offense to the point where he can complete small intermediary throws and not have so much pressure.
This offense on paper should continue to block up front with virtually everyone back as well as a solid WR group led by Joseph Ngata and a stable of big time running backs. The good news tonight for this offense is they likely won't need to score THAT many points due to who they are playing, throw in the fact that they may have the best defense in the country.
I am extremely low on Georgia Tech and think this team is REALLY BAD. Like worst team in the ACC and bottom 20 team in the country bad. The plank seems to be shorter and shorter for Geoff Collins. This team on both sides welcome back just 4 returning starters, which on a bad team is a major concern. They are poor at virtually every position and now have very little experience and depth. The one really good player they had transferred to Alabama in Jahmyr Gibbs. This defense also lost 8 of 11 of their best tacklers, didn't get to the QB up front, force any turnovers or get off the field seemingly ever. 62 percent of opposing team possessions resulted in a quality possessions which was one of the worst marks in the country. It's also concerning hearing from Collins that the secondary has made "marked improvement" in the offseason. Keep in mind this group gave up 273 passing yards a game, good for 121st in the country.
TONIGHT, the Tech offense face a defense that is absolutely terrific and really outside of a historically good season last year from Georgia on defense this group was right there with them. I know they lose Will Venables, but I think the turn to Wes Goodwin is quite smooth. Keep in mind he was assistant to Venables for years. This very clearly is the best defensive line in the country led by junior defensive end Myles Murphy. Last season Clemson gave up just 96 yards a game on the ground and just 2.9 yards per carry. Tonight that will pay major dividends against a team that will continue to struggle throwing the ball and allow this secondary to stack the box. I think you see a lot of this tonight:
Last years meeting was Clemson 14-8. There's two constants I will continue with here. Clemson on offense is a wait and see approach. Do I think they get stronger as the game goes on and dominate a bad football team? Yes, but I won't bet my money on it. This game screams like 31-10 to me. The constant I do know is that Clemson may have the best overall defense in the country and they just make life extremely difficult on Jeff Sims and the Wramblin Wreck. The defensive line will dominant and LB Trenton Simpson should have a big evening. Last season Clemson's defense gave up 14 or less points EIGHT times. That will likely continue here. I'm playing Georgia Tech UNDER 13.5 points.
Enjoy the game and have a great Labor Day. Also make sure you check out my wrap on a wild weekend of college football with the first edition of the Good, The Bad and The Ugly which can be seen here: