Advanced outlook: Clemson-Georgia Tech, updated season projections


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Clemson is a big favorite on the road at Georgia Tech this week, while some outlets are looking way down the road to another potential matchup.
Clemson is a big favorite on the road at Georgia Tech this week, while some outlets are looking way down the road to another potential matchup.

No. 2 Clemson looks to continue one trend and put another to bed for good in Atlanta on Saturday.

Decade-plus struggles in Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium were no factor in a not-as-close-as-the-score 26-7 win in 2016, where the Yellow Jackets’ rushing attack was held to 95 yards and Paul Johnson’s offense punted eight times - in addition to a safety and interception.

Now Clemson seeks a fourth-straight win over the cross-divisional rival after three victories by 17 points per game. The Yellow Jackets were contained to 175 yards under their rushing average last season versus Clemson and an average of over 150 yards over the last three meetings (compared to their season average).

For many of those reasons, Clemson is currently a 16.5-point favorite, which is the largest point-spread versus Georgia Tech in Johnson’s tenure (AJC). The metrics tend to agree with that big road figure.

Football Outsiders’ FEI picks Clemson 38-12, giving the Tigers a 95 percent shot of coming out with a win. SB Nation also likes Clemson to cover with a 41-21 victory.

Both ESPN’s FPI (85) and TeamRankings.com (87.9) back up those projections with the Tigers’ heavily-favored.

--

Clemson-GT: ESPN efficiency ranks

Clemson offense: 33rd (20th in total offense)
Georgia Tech offense: 28th (21st in total offense)
Clemson defense: 10th (10th in total defense)
Georgia Tech defense: 71st (24th in total defense)
Clemson special teams: 53rd
Georgia Tech special teams: 125th
Clemson overall efficiency: 12th (4th in FEI)
Georgia Tech overall efficiency: 59th (64th in FEI)

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A quarter through the regular season, the early data shows Clemson playing catch up along with the rest of college football to No. 1 Alabama.

The Golden Nugget sportsbook posted Wednesday that the Crimson Tide would be an 11.5-point favorite over Clemson if they meet in the national championship game.

ESPN analytics give the Crimson Tide a 17 percent shot to be the first team to go 15-0 en route to a national title. Clemson has the fourth-best odds (3 percent) behind Ohio State (5) and Georgia (4).

To just make the Playoff, Clemson is given the second-best odds (19 percent) to Alabama (35.3) on winning out and the third-best to take its conference crown (57.2; next-best in the ACC is Miami, 15.9).

Dabo Swinney’s Tigers are currently ranked No. 6 overall in both the FPI and TeamRanking’s efficiency measures. ESPN says Clemson has the No. 2 'strength of record' behind LSU, which boasts a No. 8 strength of schedule. Alabama is listed with the No. 7 strength of record and the No. 1 spot in ‘game control,’ where Clemson ranks No. 3.

Metrics outlook: Clemson-Georgia Tech

FEI: Clemson 38-12
SBN: Clemson 41-21
TeamRankings: Clemson 35-18
numberFire: Clemson 34-23



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