Georgia Bulldogs vs. Clemson Tigers – College Football (September 4, 2021)

By Dan Vasta in College Football
| September 3, 2021 12:55 pm PDT

The College Football Playoff has had four teams since it debuted in the 2014-15 season.

Entering the eighth season of the CFP, Georgia has only appeared in one of them thus far.

Clemson has made it in six of the seven, with four national title appearances and two shiny trophies to show off.

Dabo Swinney has gotten over the hump with superstar quarterbacks, and he starts a new era with another gunslinger youngster. Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence each won national titles, and now it is DJ Uiagalelei’s turn.

JT Daniels looked the part at the end of last season for Georgia, and they have been craving an elite passer since Matthew Stafford.

The stakes are higher than ever for the Bulldogs, but many point to Clemson having the most pressure to win this game due to their schedule. We have yet to see a two-loss team make the playoff, so this game will be amazing to watch.

Let’s dive deep into this game of the year candidate between the Clemson Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs. Here’s my prediction and pick for Saturday’s massive tilt.

Georgia vs. Clemson Odds

Georgia +3-110
Clemson -3-110
Georgia to Win+126
Clemson to Win-146
Over 50.5-115
Under 50.5-105

The odds are predictably tight for this one at the top college football betting sites, but Clemson enters week one as a mild favorite.

Kirby Smart took over Georgia in 2016 and has accomplished more than many thought he would. Many folks in Athens want a national title more than anything. Georgia has gone 4-7 overall straight up as an underdog under Smart. They are 5-4-2 against the spread, making this matchup even closer than it seems.

In the past five seasons, Clemson has only been an underdog in six games. Clemson is 65-6 overall, which is more impressive than any other school in the country other than Alabama (65-5). Swinney is 4-2 against the spread and straight-up in those six games.

Three of those games came in 2017 when Clemson was miraculously an underdog in three games. Swinney and Clemson have been favored in 59 consecutive regular-season games and are 34-22-2 against the spread. That is impressive when you consider Clemson has been 20-plus points favorites in 40 of those games.

Games with Clemson at a line of single-digits in the regular season (favored or as an underdog) are good to note. The Tigers are 7-1 straight up, but only 4-4 against the spread. I could chat for hours on this game, so it is now time to dissect the keys to victory for Georgia and Clemson.

Why Georgia Wins

Georgia will compete for a national title, so they have the goods to knock off Clemson. Yes, in my top 10 college football predictions for 2021, I have the Bulldogs winning it all.

If I’m to be right, it’s arguable this week one clash could be the biggest hurdle.

The Dawgs have the best defense in the country, and they will rattle the young Clemson signal-caller into a few costly mistakes.

Georgia can run the ball with authority and has several different backs they can throw at an opposing defense. Zamir White can run like an All-American bruising tailback that can cut on the dime and take a few defenders with him for a joy ride. James Cook, Kendall Milton, and Kenny McIntosh could all tote it a dozen times if need be.

There isn’t a more talented backfield in the nation, and a potential Heisman quarterback won’t need much to expose the Clemson secondary.

Daniels could be special, both for this game, and for the season as a whole.

Justin Fields and Ohio State carved them up in the Sugar Bowl, and Daniels could do the same. This team will be more motivated than ever before, and they should be the aggressors.

Why Clemson Wins

Dabo Swinney knows how to win as well as any coach in the past few decades. Winning two titles wasn’t pure luck, and Dabo knows how to get the job done. Kirby Smart in big games has been a complete crapshoot.

Swinney has not had many letdown moments over the years, and he could thank Brent Venables for that.

The top defensive coordinator in the nation has been a guru in season openers, ACC titles, and College Football Playoff games.

Clemson also features the top defensive line in the nation, giving them an edge at the line of scrimmage. Both of the defenses could be elite, but the Tigers have been more productive over the years. The pressure has mounted over the Georgia program, and Clemson has often played much looser.

Georgia vs. Clemson Prediction

The loser of this game will be considered a long shot to reach the CFP per some experts.

There is a better path for Georgia to lose this one. They could get into the CFP by running the table in the gauntlet that is the SEC.

Assuming this one is not a blowout, both teams are more than capable of winning the rest of their games.

Georgia should be more physical and quicker upfront, so they get the nod for me.

It will be a challenge to defend the speed of the Tigers, but the Bulldogs could run the ball downhill and put even more pressure on the Clemson offense. In a thriller, Georgia finds a way to win this one late.

Georgia vs. Clemson Pick

The top regular-season matchup of the year has so much at stake. The top two defenses make it tempting to take the under for the point total.

Most offenses don’t light up the scoreboard immediately in the season. Both of these teams will look to make a statement, so anything is possible.

The best bet is picking the straight-up winner with value on both sides. I have loved Clemson for a while, but side with Georgia this time around.

  • Georgia to Win



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