Dan Scott: Clemson vs. Georgia Tech Prediction
Leave it to Temple to make everyone happy. The Tigers won by 30, I predicted the game correctly and, because I did, the Tiger Nation is spared the possibility of my warbling the National Anthem.
Now, is the ol' Magic Helmet really back in business, or was Temple just so bad my blind aunt Gracie could see it?
Let's find out.
Clemson (4-3, 2-3 ACC) at Georgia Tech (4-2, 2-2)
When Clemson Has The Ball
There's nothing fancy about the defensive scheme put forth by Tech defensive coordinator John Tenuta. The Yellow Jackets will blitz early, blitz often, and come from every conceivable direction. Somehow, instinct tells me Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence is licking his chops at this one. With his penchant for formations, misdirection, screens and other offensive toys, you can just see Spence carving up an over-aggressive defense. To do that, Charlie Whitehurst will have to be accurate from beginning to end, and as always it won't hurt to establish the running game and win the battle of time of possession.
ADVANTAGE - Clemson
When Georgia Tech Has The Ball
Remember this phrase: Reggie Ball to Calvin Johnson. If today's game announcers are saying it with any frequency, then the Tigers are in trouble. Johnson is the best receiver in the ACC, and Ball - who can be very good and very bad - is a weapon with his legs as well as his arm. And though Clemson gave up just seven points to Temple, the Owls threw for in excess of 300 yards against the Tigers' secondary. Plus, Tech has a healthy P.J. Daniels back at tailback. So, referencing the previous section, you can see why, perhaps, winning the time of possession battle could be important.
ADVANTAGE - Georgia Tech
Clemson struggles in punt protection and kickoff coverage. Tech's Travis Bell has missed five straight field goal attempts. So naturally, watch this game come down to a special teams play or two.
ADVANTAGE - Even
Going back to the N.C. State game, the Tigers have looked strong for two consecutive games. The coaching staff has done a good job of keeping the team's focus after the three difficult losses, and now it appears they may be on yet another late-season run. As for the Yellow Jackets, Chan Gailey has been under fire almost since Day One, and it doesn't appear to be getting any better. Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Mark Bradley called for his job in a recent article, which apparently surprised few.
ADVANTAGE - Clemson
Bottom line here is simple. Whenever these teams play, something unusual seems to happen. Remember last season at Death Valley (I know, you've tried to put it out of your mind)? I fully expect such to be the case again this year. Only Clemson will be the one to benefit from any shenanigans.
Clemson 30, Georgia Tech 23