In no particular order:
First, maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else find it a little strange that the general consensus is that the game should be a moderately scoring affair? The over/under is 52 and most of the projections I’ve seen have both teams under thirty points. Clemson averaged better than 40 points a game last season. Georgia, in its last four games, averaged over 37. It’s an era of explosive offenses and yet we’re expecting the defenses to hold their own?
Second, earlier in the offseason, I had this fantasy in my head that maybe, just maybe, the Clemson game that would wind up truly resonating in the aftermath of the opener wasn’t played by Georgia. It was Alabama’s coming out party in 2008, when Nick Saban let everyone know he had that program back on track to become the monster that we all know now. Yeah, the circumstances aren’t the same, but there’s a guy in Butts-Mehre who knows exactly how it felt at the time, which is why I find this Seth Emerson observation ($$) interesting:
But there’s something about Kirby Smart’s demeanor this preseason, more relaxed than usual, and the sense I’ve gotten within the program that the Bulldogs are antsy to make a national statement.
Well, Georgia may be antsy, but the Dawgs aren’t playing against air. And that brings me to point number three, a Josh Kendall take from the same piece.
If the game is played between the tackles, Dawgs win. If it’s played on the edge, Tigers win. Tony Elliott is pretty good at making people play where he wants them to…
That is a simple, elegant way of combining the twin points about overall line play determining the outcome, together with this morning’s post about the size of Clemson’s receivers and Smart’s concern about perimeter blocking. Is Georgia’s defense good enough to force Clemson’s offense where it doesn’t want to go on a consistent basis?