Clemson vs. Georgia Prediction: Are Bulldogs Poised To Upset Tigers?

Clemson vs. Georgia is the must-see game of the weekend’s NCAAF slate, featuring two of the Top 5 college programs in the country. College Football expert Ian Cameron is here with his breakdown and prediction.
Ian Cameron
Thu, September 2, 4:31 AM EDT

Clemson vs. Georgia Prediction: Are Bulldogs Poised To Upset Tigers?

When: Saturday, September 4

Game Time: 7:30 PM ET

Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC

TV Network: ABC

Clemson vs Georgia Spread: Clemson -3

Clemson vs Georgia Total: 50.5

Complete Clemson vs Georgia Odds

Clemson vs. Georgia Prediction:

It's the marquee matchup and main event of the opening weekend of the College Football campaign as two national title contenders battle to kick off the season as the Georgia Bulldogs take on the Clemson Tigers.

Georgia is loaded, plain and simple. The Bulldogs have an experienced QB J.T. Daniels with a strong arm leading the offense, which instantly got better once he returned from knee surgery midway through last season. Daniels completed 67% of his passes with a 10-2 TD-INT ratio in his starts, and the offense flourished, scoring 31+ points in four straight games to end the season.

Daniels will have a solid ground attack with RB Zamir White and a slew of talented WR's which include Jermaine Burton and Kearis Jackson. Even after the ACL injury suffered in the offseason by star WR George Pickens, which has left him unavailable. The offensive line is strong on the left side, but they have to replace three starters, including a freshman center. The defense brings back seven starters. Even the new faces are as highly recruited as it gets for head coach Kirby Smart, who continues to bring plenty of upper-echelon talent to Georgia, especially on defense. The Bulldogs will have upperclassmen starting in 9 of the 11 positions for them on the defensive side of the football. The linebacking corps is stacked, and the secondary should be outstanding. However, they are likely to be without one of their impact additions to the pass defense, West Virginia transfer Tykee Smith, who is expected to miss this game due to injury. 

Clemson will look to begin the new season in a much better fashion than how they ended last year, which was a blowout loss in the College Football Playoff semifinals against Ohio State in Trevor Lawrence's final collegiate game. The QB position is in great hands though post-Trevor Lawrence, with DJ Uiagalelei taking over the reins as the starting QB for the Tigers. Uiagalelei showed the kind of promise he can bring to the QB spot for Clemson when he filled in for Trevor Lawrence last season when he was out due to COVID-19. DJ was outstanding, leading the team to wins against Syracuse and Boston College. Even in the loss to Notre Dame on the road, which DJ started, it was hard to blame him and the offense for the loss when they put up 40 points in that game. Uiagalelei completed 67% of his passes with 5 TD's and 0 INT's last season and should be able to seamlessly move toward a full-time starting QB role for Clemson in 2021.

The rest of the offense only returns five starters, so there could be some early season growing pains, but they return key players in key roles, including WR Justyn Ross, TE Braden Galloway, and three offensive linemen. The defense should be the team's strength, especially early on, as they bring back ten starters, including their nose tackle, three of their four linebackers, and three of their four players from last season in the secondary. Clemson's defense, despite having to replace pretty much their entire defensive line last year from the 2019 team and many other key starters on that side of the football still ranked 29th in the country in points per game allowed and yielded only 341.8 yards per game. However, the Tigers are primed to improve those numbers in 2021 with an even more robust and more experienced defense for one of the best defensive coordinators in College Football, Brent Venables. 

This game should be fantastic on Saturday night and an early-season test for both teams. From my viewpoint, I've seen Clemson and head coach Dabo Swinney pass way more of these big game tests than Georgia and their head coach Kirby Smart in recent years. I'm also concerned about the injury list for Georgia going into this game, as they could be shorthanded in some of the skill positions and will also be without one of their integral starting CB's Tykee Smith.

The Bulldogs have struggled in these 'step up in class' matchups against teams that are as good or better than them, and until that changes, I'm going to bet against them yet again in another big game here. I'm on Clemson -3, and I also like this game to stay under the total. The defenses on both teams are excellent, and I think both defensive fronts have the potential to control the line of scrimmage for the majority of this game.

Clemson vs. Georgia Picks

Clemson -3 (+100)

Under 50.5 (-105)

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