Deb asked me to post a piece on this game, so here it is.
This is an old rivalry, which Georgia leads 41-17-4. This game was played almost every year before the expansions. It is a not so friendly rivalry. Back in the day, I had a “Rednecks Turn Orange in the Fall” Tee shirt. Also, my son played against Clemson.
This year’s game is one of the marquee match ups of the opening weekend, with Clemson ranked 8th and Georgia 5th. The winner will be in the BCS hunt.
Clemson has more than the usual motivation for this contest, as the SEC has been drubbing the ACC recently, winning 11 of the last 15 games. There is a lot of angst among ACC schools over SEC superiority, and Clemson is carrying the ACC banner in this one.
Clemson returns Tajh Boyd at QB, and Sammy Watkins at WR, along with most of the O-line. Key losses were Ellington and Hopkins. They have a veteran O line, with the exception of a new center, but are starting over at RB and TE. They will spread the field and play no huddle most of the time. They were 9th in total offense and 6th in scoring in 2012.
Clemson’s defense left a lot to be desired in 2012. They were 63rd in total defense, and 48th in scoring defense. Their major weakness continues to be the secondary. Venables thinks they have turned the corner. We shall see.
Georgia returns 10 starters on offense, from a team that finished 22nd in total offense and 19th in scoring offense. The entire two deep O line returns, and they will rotate 8 O linemen. UGA returns two TEs, one of which was voted All SEC by the coaches and writers. UGA has the 3rd ranked WR corps. Although Tavarres King is now with the Broncos, they have 7 expected to play a lot.
UGA has the top RB duo in the nation, Gurley and Marshall. RS senior Aaron Murray returns at QB. He is the only QB in SEC history to pass for 3000 yards for three consecutive years. Barring injury, he will hold most of the SEC passing records when he is done.