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This is by far the biggest game of the first college football weekend of 2013. Both teams are ranked in the AP Top 10 and have their sights set on BCS bowls and maybe even the Championship game. One could also say that both teams didn't reach expectations in 2012 as neither was able to win their conference. They both finished with two losses with one being against South Carolina. A loss to Florida State dashed Clemson's hopes at the ACC title, while Georgia came up short against Alabama in the SEC Championship game. The Bulldogs have the higher ranking and come in as -2 point road favorites at 5dimes.
Expect to see plenty of offense in this game with two very high-powered squads led by two possible Heisman candidates at quarterback if all goes well. Georgia QB Aaron Murray improved as a junior and will hope to see more improvement as a senior. He tossed for 3,893 yards, 36 TDs and 10 INTs last year, while completing 64.5 percent of his passes. It will be interesting to see who steps up in the first game at receiver as Tavarres King is gone. It could be Malcolm Mitchell (40 receptions) or someone like Michael Bennett or Chris Conley. On the ground, Georgia has one of the best young running backs in the nation with sophomore Todd Gurley, who had 1,385 yards and 17 TDs last year. Considering Clemson's defense is always their weak spot, stopping this offense will be problematic.
Since it's unlikely the Tigers defense will be able to hold Georgia under 20 points, it's going to be up to their offense to win the game, which isn't impossible. The Bulldogs have a solid defense, but with only three returning starters, they aren't unstoppable.
Similar to year's past, quarterback Tajh Boyd will be asked to do mostly everything in this offense. Boyd threw for 3,896 yards, ran for 514 yards and finished with 46 total touchdowns last season. Losing RB Andre Ellington and WR DeAndre Hopkins will be tough, but they aren't short on options. Roderick McDowell is slated to start at RB and WR Sammy Watkins has the ability to be a top wide out, as seen in his freshman season.
The over/under on this game is near 72 points for a reason. These teams combined for 79 points per game during the 2012 season. Clemson lost to South Carolina last year at home which shows they can be beaten at Memorial Stadium.
As expected from top teams, both have solid numbers against the spread. The Bulldogs are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games overall and 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 vs. the ACC. The Tigers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 overall, but only 2-5 ATS in their last seven non-conference games. Surprisingly, the under has hit in four of Georgia's last five road games and four of Clemson's last five home games. Maybe the defenses will shine in this meeting?
Both of these squads were 12-2 last year. If there's any question as to whether Clemson can go toe to toe with an SEC team, all one needs to do is look back kto their Bowl game last year, a 25-24 win over LSU a 6 point dogs. Motivation won't be problem with a National TV audience tuning in to watch an with Georgia losing so many starters from last years defense, the setting may be right for an upset for the home dogs here. We'll take Clemson here plus the small spot. Clemson +2 This is not a Key Release. The only way to get those plays this year is via subscription. An economic alternative to our Key Releases is our score predictions for every game on the board, including the NFL.clemson
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