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Georgia Bulldogs at Clemson Tigers Free Pick 8/31/13

Clemson Tigers (0-0) Vs. Georgia Bulldogs (0-0)

College Football: Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 8:00 pm (Memorial Stadium)

The Line: Clemson Tigers +1.5 --- Over/Under: 69 See the Latest Odds

TV: ABC

The Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers face off in Death Valley as they open their 2013 college football schedules with a huge out of conference matchup of top 10 ranked teams.

The expectations for Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs are huge, but a young defense and a brutal schedule, much tougher than they have played in recent years, make this season anything but easy. Aaron Murray is back at QB for his senior year and we have seen him make all of the throws throughout his career. The Dawgs are loaded in the backfield, with Todd Gurley who should be a Heisman candidate and little drop-off to Keith Marshall. Malcolm Mitchell should be Murray’s main target at wide receiver but the tight ends, Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome, may be the bigger targets. Jordan Jenkins is looked at to be the next star of the Georgia defense, but he has some big shoes to fill left by Jarvis Jones. Garrison Smith has experience at defensive end, but overall the Georgia defense is a rebuilt unit and they are going to need to be difference makers as this team will go as far as the defense will take them.

Georgia Bulldogs at Clemson Tigers Free Pick 8/31/13

USA TODAY Sports

The Clemson Tigers start the season ranked eight in the nation, but Dabo Swinney knows that preseason rankings don’t mean much and, with a few losses, the Tigers could be out of the polls altogether. On offense, QB Tajh Boyd is back and  after beating LSU last year in the Chik-fil-A Bowl, don’t look for him to be intimidated by any SEC school. Sammy Watkins is one of the best receivers in the nation and teamed with Boyd for another season, it could be a magical year. Roderick McDowell is the starting running back, but it could be a committee situation with D.J. Howard and Zac Brooks. Brent Venables has a year under his belt with the Clemson defense so the expectation is higher. Grady Jarrett and Josh Watson retun in the middle of the defensive line and Vic Beasley is the best Tigers' pass rusher. Clemson retunrs all three starting linebackers, including Spencer Shuey and his 93 tackles. The secondary has question marks as they haven’t been healthy in practice and the Tigers are hoping for immediate impact from its incoming freshman.

Clemson is 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games and 2-5 against the spread in their last seven non-conference games. Georgia is 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games and 9-3-1 against the ACC.

I love defense, but this game isn’t going to have a ton of it. I am not saying these teams don’t have talent on the defensive side of the football, but to me this shapes up as an offensive game. Murray to his tight ends and receivers and the far better running game. Clemson looks strong with Boyd, who can do it all, and Watkins, who Georgia doesn’t even have a player on their roster that can cover him. This pick is a lean at best for me but I am going to go with the Bulldogs, primarily because of Gurley and Marshall, who should be able to wear Clemson down.

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Georgia Bulldogs -1.5

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