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Clemson, Georgia Face Tremendous Pressure In Clash Of Top-25 Teams

Posted by Blake Frazier on 8/27/2014 10:57:41 PM

A number of top-25 teams will open the 2014 college football season as double-digit favorites against smaller schools. Clemson and Georgia won’t have that luxury. The 16th-ranked Tigers will visit the 12th-ranked Bulldogs in a tough early season test for both teams and while it may be only week one there is certainly a ton of pressure on both teams to open with a win as the battle for one of four spots in the inaugural College Football Playoff begins.

#16 Clemson Tigers @ #12 Georgia Bulldogs

Saturday August 30, 2014 – 5:30 PM ET

Sanford Stadium, Athens, Georgia

College Football Betting Line: Georgia -7.5

These teams combined for 73 points when they met in last year’s season opener as Clemson managed to hang on for a three-point win on the strength of five touchdowns from former quarterback Tajh Boyd. Boyd is one star player from last year’s game that won’t be a part of this one and that should lead to much less scoring.

College Football Betting Preview: Clemson

Senior quarterback Cole Stoudt will do his best to replace Boyd but he is already behind the eight ball after star receivers Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant moved on to the NFL. It also won’t help that the Tigers will have a new starting running back although junior Zac Brooks has something to prove after struggling to stay healthy last year. The Clemson defense is expected to be better, particularly in the front-seven where they have five returning starters including consensus All-American senior defensive end Vic Beasley. The Tigers will have to deal with plenty of new faces in their secondary and the pass defense will depend heavily on the pressure created up front.

College Football Betting Preview: Georgia

Clemson will also have to deal with the Bulldogs’ junior running back Todd Gurley, who torched them for 154 yards and two touchdowns in last year’s opener. Gurley is primed for a big year and will help take the pressure off the passing game as Georgia begins life without Aaron Murray. Senior quarterback Hutson Mason got a jump-start as the starter after Murray went down with a torn ACL last season and he showed flashes of how good he can be. If Mason can be more consistent than the Bulldogs’ offense will be very dangerous once again. The defense has potential under coordinator Jeremy Pruitt led by All-SEC senior linebacker Ramik Wilson in the middle. Pruitt wants to cut down on the big plays allowed and force more turnovers and he is confident this unit will improve.

College Football Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

The line for this game opened at 9.5 before dropping down two points but the smart money is on the Bulldogs. The turnover that Clemson has had to deal with on offense has been somewhat underrated but it will stand out in this game as an improved Georgia defense exposes it. Gurley will lead the Bulldogs’ offense with his powerful rushing style and help to open up room for Mason and the passing game. Look for Georgia to build an early lead and never let up as they look for a measure of redemption after last year’s loss and a strong start to a new season at home.

College Football Betting Pick: Georgia Bulldogs -7.5

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