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Clemson/Georgia Tech Preview
by Matt Fargo - 09/10/2009
Georgia Tech opened Sunday night at -4.5 and this line has been moving in the last few days. It jumped to -5.5 in some places on Tuesday morning but eventually climbed back down to the original number by late afternoon. As of Wednesday morning, the Yellow Jackets had moved back up to -5-point favorites.
The total opened at 41 and has climbed slightly to 42.5.
There are no major injuries on either side but some players could miss. For the Yellow Jackets, linebacker Kyle Jackson and wide receiver Tyler Melton, both projected sophomore starters did not play last week and are doubtful again this week. For Clemson, running back C.J. Spiller had to leave last week’s game against Middle Tennessee with a hamstring injury but is probable this week.
The gametime forecast calls for a high of 77 degrees with a 35 percent chance of a thunderstorm.
Thursday Night Home Dominance
Thursday night last season was a cash cow for the home teams that were featured on ESPN primetime. Of the 15 weeks during the regular season, the home team went 12-3 straight up and 12-3 ATS. Those records are more coincidental than anything and they have nothing to do with this matchup but going contrarian last season (going against the public betting the home teams) would have put one in the poorhouse. We should this balance out more in 2009.
Underachievers to Overachievers?
Clemson has been one of the biggest underachieving teams in football in recent years. The Tigers have not had a losing season since 1998 and they have gone to seven bowl games since then but none have been any major bowl games. The last big January bowl game came way back in the 1982 Orange Bowl so it has been. There isn’t a whole lot expected this season so maybe with no pressure, good things can happen. Clemson is projected by some to be the sleeper team in the ACC Atlantic.
Battle in the Trenches
The Tigers possess the 7th best offensive line and the 3rd best defensive line in the nation according to Lindy’s College Football Annual and that is where games are won and lost. The Yellow Jackets are not as strong along the defensive line like they were last season so Clemson could take advantage with tough back C.J. Spiller. Georgia Tech’s offensive line is in the top half of the ACC and along with the best backfield, the running game should be just fine against the stout Tigers.
Clemson won the yardage battle against the Blue Raiders last week by just 62 total yards. The Tigers still won comfortably thanks to special teams. The difference was that Clemson returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and it also returned a punt for a touchdown late in the second quarter. Not to be outdone, Georgia Tech also retuned a punt for a touchdown against Jacksonville St. Special teams could play a big part in this game, especially if the line of scrimmage strengths hold up.