Dan Scott: Clemson - Georgia Prediction


by - Correspondent -
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Clemson (0-0) at No. 8 Georgia (0-0)

Sanford Stadium



OFFENSE

Clemson's offense is both blessed and saddled with potential. If junior
quarterback Willie Simmons is on target from the beginning of his first
career start, if the rebuilt offensive line can perform up to standard, and
if injuries to key skill personnel don't limit the Tigers' options, then
perhaps we'll have a shootout on our hands. But none of that can be
considered anything but speculation at this point. Meanwhile, Georgia has a
healthy Musa Smith at running back, redshirt sophomore David Greene back at
quarterback and a senior-laden offensive line. In this case, you have to take
the known rather than the unknown.

ADVANTAGE - Georgia



DEFENSE

Though untested in game conditions, there's a wave of optimism running
through the Clemson defense that's hard to ignore. Just how that optimism
translates into performance remains to be seen. The key matchup here is how
well the Tigers' front four does against Georgia's veteran offensive line.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have some worry spots on the defensive line and in
the secondary, but their run-stopping linebackers should be a strong unit.


ADVANTAGE - Even



SPECIAL TEAMS

Clemson's punting is already suspect and the first game hasn't even been
played. Senior Wynn Kopp, who played his first two years at Georgia, has been
terribly inconsistent during prefall camp. The return game will drop a notch
or two if Derrick Hamilton's ankle keeps him from being at top speed. Only
kicker Aaron Hunt appears solid at this point. Georgia punter Jonathan Kilgo
was third in the nation last season with a net average of 40.5 yards per
kick.

ADVANTAGE - Georgia



COACHING

A seemingly more serious-minded Tommy Bowden vs. another one of his father's
assistants-turned-head coach. Experience wins this one.

ADVANTAGE - Clemson



THE LOWDOWN

What we have here is a Clemson team that isn't as good right now as it will
be later this season. With so many unknowns, and a few injuries to boot, 3-22
at Sanford Stadium just isn't in the cards barring a Bulldog implosion.



THE PICK

Georgia 27, Clemson 17


Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 10 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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