In a top 10 matchup on the opening week that’s about national championship hopes (for both Georgia and Clemson) but also about the pride of the ACC against the usually dominant SEC, with Heisman hopes and questions about changing defenses also being a huge part of the scenery.
Georgia lost two big defensive playmakers in the offseason to the NFL draft, but have plenty of confidence that Aaron Murray at quarterback and Todd Gurley at running back can more than make up for that, as the #5 Bulldogs head into Memorial Stadium to face #8 Clemson, who finished last season with a big win in the Chick-Fil-A bowl over another SEC team, LSU.
It’s been quite a while since the two teams have met. Georgia hold a very impressive 41-17-4 record against the Tigers, but the two teams haven’t played since 2003, when Georgia won their fifth consecutive game against Clemson.
It’s hard to define how good Georgia’s defense will be, but the ability of those units on both teams to get stops will probably determine the outcome of this game. Tajh Boyd was the ACC played of the year last season, finishing with 3,896 yards and 36 touchdowns while leading the Tigers to an 11-2 mark, their most victories since going 12-0 while winning the 1981 national title.
The season is usually defined in recent years by how well Clemson do against Florida State, as it has become the game that pretty much determines the outcome of their division and recently the champion of the conference. Against Georgia, it becomes a bit more serious, with national championship hopes on the line as well, especially if Clemson can win.
For Georgia, Aaron Murray might be the Heisman hopeful due to his quarterback credentials, with the team being only five yards away from winning the SEC title and going to play for the national championship, but it seems like their running game with Keith Marshall and especially Todd Gurley (1385 yards, 17 touchdowns) is going to set the tone as to whether Georgia will leap over their first hurdle en route to another SEC East title.
Prediction – It’s going to be a high scoring game most likely, but Georgia are going to suffer from their weakened defensive unit. Clemson look ready to strike another SEC foe, this time to start the season with, and the Boyd-Watkins combo should do well enough to score the upset.