Recalling the Ridiculous Bus Ride
In 2013, ESPN made a big production out of Clemson’s short bus ride from their campus to Death Valley. The “Worldwide Leader in Sports” showed the entrance in its entirety, from the loading of the buses, to players touching Howard’s Rock and running down “The Hill”, showcasing a display which appealed to absolutely no one other than Tiger faithful. Admittedly, that statement is full of bitterness toward last year’s result.
It’s Only Teenage Wasteland
In an effort to make this year’s coverage equally home-centric, ESPN should broadcast the entirety of the Baba O’Reily entrance to Sanford Stadium, making sure to keep the commentary team quiet during Glory Glory to Ole’ Georgia as well.
It is far too early to tell what the outcome will be of Georgia’s impending tussle with Clemson. 2014 marks game number 64 between the two schools. The Dawgs lead the all-time series by a count of 41-18, with four ties.
The Pressure is on Bulldog Nation
Clemson met (and arguably exceeded), expectations last season, capping off an ACC Championship with a victory in the 2014 Orange Bowl victory over Ohio State. At present, it seems Cole Stoudt will get the nod at quarterback for the Tigers. Conversely, Hutson Mason will end his four-year odyssey of waiting to be the starter on opening weekend. UGA will be eager to prove their worth as a top ten college football program as Bulldog Nation looks to put more bite behind its bark.
You Can Cut the Tension With a Knife
With kickoff a mere ten days away, anticipation is building for Georgia’s 2013 season opener against the Clemson Tigers, and concern is starting to creep in between the hedges. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution continues to report on the Bulldogs depleted defensive backfield. A game that I previously believed would be an opportunity for Georgia to make a bold statement is now a contest that I hope the Dawgs can find a way to win.
Expect a Shootout in Death Valley
Clemson starting quarterback Tajh Boyd led the Atlantic Coast Conference in touchdown passes in 2012, with 36 touchdowns. In all likelihood, the Tigers will look to strike Georgia’s secondary early and often, as Boyd also led the ACC in yards per attempt. The Dawgs must put a lot of pressure on the Clemson signal caller to relieve the aerial assault.
UGA quarterback Aaron Murray had 36 touchdown tosses of his own last year. As he continues to rewrite the Georgia passing record books, the final chapters will be penned beginning on August 31. Murray will be behind a very experienced offensive line that is capable of protecting him and giving him the time he needs to make good decisions with the football.
Unease in Athens
The reality is even if the expected starters are able to make a full recovery by game day, they are still very inexperienced. Clemson’s offense is nothing if not high powered, and the Tigers have proven that they can score very quickly. Defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Todd Grantham will play a big role in the outcome of game one.
Georgia and Clemson each have questions to answer in the defensive secondary. As a result, it is a fairly safe bet that they are going to combine to score 70-80 points before the final whistle blows. Hell, Clemson gave up 70 points to West Virginia in the 2012 Orange Bowl.
The match-up between the Dawgs and the Tigers will end in favor of the team that can win the turnover battle. According to College Football Statistics, Clemson had a total of 21 giveaways in 2012. By comparison, Georgia turned the ball over 19 times. With UGA’s young defense, the Bulldogs absolutely have to avoid beating themselves. Bulldog Nation is eager to take a bite out of Howard’s Rock.
The ACC has not won many rings since coach Bowden retired.
The Atlantic Coast Conference Has Been Atrocious in BCS Games
The ACC has been one of my least favorite conferences to keep tabs on in recent years. As a result, this post examining a portion of ACC football will center around the conference’s four most important games against the Southeastern Conference in 2013.
ACC Coaching Thoughts
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson may be a triple option guru, but when he loses he becomes an obnoxious oaf. Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State Seminoles have not won a big game since Bobby Bowden retired, Unless of course you are absurd enough to count the ‘Noles Orange Bowl victory over Northern Illinois at the end of last season.
The Hokies are coming off an extremely disappointing year in which they finished 6-6 in the regular season, before defeating Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl to end the year with a winning record. This year, Virginia Tech has the honor of playing the defending national champion, Alabama, to begin their campaign.
The Crimson Tide have been sitting atop college football for two consecutive years, and it is nearly impossible to believe that a fictional purple turkey is going to knock them off. Luckily, college football is not played on paper. What a “Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game” it will be if the Tide forgets to roll in.
I will admit that my opinion on this game is totally biased. With Bulldog quarterback Aaron Murray coming back for his last chance at a championship, UGA has no intention of starting the season in an 0-1 hole. There will be an offensive shootout in Death Valley, and Bulldog Nation will have the final bark.
Since Paul Johnson broke out his fish frier after his Yellow Jackets skewered the Dawgs for 45 points back in 2008, Georgia Tech has not been able to recapture that magic again. Johnson was the ACC coach of the year for each of his first two seasons in Atlanta, but downright appalling defense has stung Tech for a total of 19 losses in the past three seasons.
Georgia wiped the field with Georgia Tech in the final regular season game of 2012. The Bulldogs capitalized on a Georgia Tech fumble at the Georgia one-yard line to gain an early 14-0 lead and never looked back. It was a game that Tech head coach Paul Johnson called “a pretty good thumping.” If the regular season pans out the way that Georgia fans are hoping for, a similar result should be expected in Atlanta this year.
Steve Spurrier (thankfully) has had trouble winning the SEC East in the past two years. Consequently, the Ole’ Ball Coach has had to find solace in making life miserable for Clemson fans every year. According to Clemson head coach, Dabo Swinney, the Tigers are knocking on the door to greatness, but how can that be if Clemson is not even the best team in their own state?
Despite their advantage of 65-41 (with four ties) in the series rivalry, the Tigers have not beaten the Gamecocks since 2008. The heat between the two schools figures to be kicked up a notch this year, as South Carolina and Clemson are ranked 7th and 8th in the preseason polls respectively.