Clemson (0-0) vs Georgia Tech (0-0)
When: Monday, September 5th 2022
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium,
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Clemson -22/53.5
The final game of the Week 1 schedule in College Football gives us a game that nobody thinks will be close. The Clemson Tigers head to Atlanta as 23.5-point favorites over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Clemson went 10-3 a year ago, but that was considered a disappointment from a program that owns two nationals championships and two runner-up finishes since 2015. They come into this season as the betting favorites to win the ACC after the Tigers saw Pittsburgh raise the trophy in 2021.
Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets are looking to do more in head coach Geoff Collins’ fourth season at the helm. Collins owns a 9-25 overall record and 7-18 in the ACC in his first three seasons. He is clearly on the hot-seat and so is quarterback Jeff Sims, who needs to show more consistency entering his third year. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 3-9 season, including 2-6 in the ACC and return just eight total starters (5 offense, 3 defense).
The Yellow Jackets lead the all-time series 50-34-2 but it’s been all Clemson lately. Georgia Tech’s last two victories in 2011 and 2014 were in Atlanta, the site of Monday’s matchup. The Tigers have won seven straight in the series, averaging 40.1 points. Clemson’s average margin of victory in the seven wins has been 27.1 points. However, Georgia Tech almost pulled a huge upset at Clemson last season, falling 14-8.
Clemson’s biggest concern is the development of junior quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, who needs a rebound season. Uiagalelei played nine games as a freshman in 2020 and completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 914 yards and five touchdowns, with no interceptions. However, in 2021, he regressed to 55.6 percent with nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions in starting all 13 games. Uiagalelei spent the offseason working out and lost 30 pounds, as five-star freshman Cade Klubnick waits in the wings. Defensively, the Tigers are set. They bring seven starters back from a unit that was second in the nation in scoring defense (14.8 points per game) and eighth in yards allowed (306.3). Leading the way are tackle Bryan Bresee, end Myles Murphy and linebacker Trenton Simpson.
Sims, a sophomore, retained his freshman eligibility in 2021 after the 2020 COVID season and has thrown for 3,349 yards with a completion rate of 57.1 percent and 25 touchdowns vs. 20 interceptions. He also has 864 yards rushing and 10 TDs. Sims has played well at times, but has played through some injuries. With Simms on the field last season, the Yellow Jackets averaged 29.7 points and 431 yards. Without him, they dropped to 16.7 and 303. The Georgia Tech not only lost one of its top playmakers in running back Jahmyr Gibbs to Alabama, but this year’s offensive line will made up of freshmen and sophomores. Not a great combination going up against Clemson on Monday. Georgia Tech will host Western Carolina in five days.
This could be an ugly game and I would have no betting interest in it if it were buried in the middle of a Saturday schedule. But, it’s a stand-alone game worth taking a look at. I’m going to lay the points. Not because I think Clemson is a powerhouse, but the fact that Georgia Tech is a young team that isn’t close to getting back on the winning track. Check out some of the In-Play options for this one over at MyBookie.
Pick: Clemson -23.5