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2009 ACC FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
CLEMSON VS GA TECH
Ga Tech Favored by 1 at Sportsbook.com
This is a very interesting ACC Title game this year with both teams losing to
their SEC in state rival the week before. After C.J. Spiller returned the
opening kickoff return for a TD last weekend against South Carolina, the
Gamecocks scored 24 unanswered points and went on to win that game 34-17.
Clemson struggled early in the year starting the year 2-3 in their first 5
games, but after that they won 6 in a row before losing to their instate rival.
This Clemson team has really gotten good as the season has gone on, but they
will get one of their toughest tests of the year this Saturday against the
Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech lost 30-24 last week to Georgia, but the Yellow
Jackets have still had a very successful year under Head Coach Paul Johnson.
Many people had their doubts about Paul Johnson's triple option attack and whether it could be effective in a major BCS conference. I think all those questions were answered when Georgia Tech finished the regular season 10-2 and a #10 ranking in the country. Georgia Tech's lone loss besides Georgia was against Miami and after that game the Yellow Jackets went on a 8-0 run with wins over Mississippi State, Florida State, and Virginia Tech. Georgia Tech already has a win over Clemson this season, but that was a hard fought 30-27 victory in Week 2. A lot has happened since that ballgame and these are very different teams, so I think it is safe to say you can just about throw that game out when talking about this game. This becomes a one game season with the winner going to a BCS bowl game with the loser going to an average bowl game, so we are going to see a hard fought contest.
Both these teams are very similar in what they want to do offensively. They both want to run the ball down your throat. With Georgia Tech they like to do that with their triple option attack led by QB Josh Nesbitt and RB Jonathan Dwyer and with Clemson they like to pound the ball early with their Heisman hopeful RB C.J. Spiller. Both Georgia and South Carolina were able to control the lines of scrimmage and beat Georgia Tech and Clemson at their own game. Georgia rushed for 339 yards on the ground against Georgia Tech and the Yellow Jackets top two rushers Josh Nesbitt and Jonathan Dwyer were held to 74 yards rushing combined. Against Clemson South Carolina rushed for 223 yards on the ground while Clemson rushed for just 48 yards as a team and their star RB Spiller was only able to rush for 18 yards. This game much like those will be won in the trenches. Whichever team is able to establish the line of scrimmage offensively and defensively will walk away with the victory.
THE FINAL VERDICT
This is one of the toughest games you will ever see to try and figure out. When these two teams went against each other in Week 2 the game went down to the wire and Georgia Tech needed a stop on Clemson's last possession to preserve a 30-27 victory. Both teams want to pound the ball and establish the run early and often, so its all going to come down to who is able to do that the best. Both teams are solid against the run with Georgia Tech ranked 5th in the ACC in rush defense allowing 135.7 while Clemson is ranked 4th allowing 135.1. We all know how difficult it is to beat a team twice in the same year, so Georgia Tech has that playing against them, but we believe these two teams have both come a long way since their last game, so that wont matter much.
We expect both teams to have success rushing the ball, but if we have to pick one team to perform better we have to take Coach Paul Johnson and his triple option attack. They let every team know what they want to do and just say try to stop us. This Yellow Jacket rushing attack is very disciplined and do what they do as good as anyone. This game will come down to who can use that run to set up big plays, and when it comes to big plays no one is better then Georgia Tech WR Demaryius Thomas. Thomas has over 1,000 yards receiving for 7 TD's and averages 24.5 yards a catch. It is amazing what he has been able to do at WR in this run happy offense, and we don't expect things to change. QB Josh Nesbitt will continue to run that ball time after time, but when he pulls it back and throws it we expect him to find Thomas for some big plays and that will be the difference in this game.