This game is always close, no matter who's ranked where (see: 2009 and 2011). This will be different than those games in that this one will be a defensive shootout rather than an offensive one. Given the insurmountable odds, and Tech's weakness against the pass, I think Clemson comes away with a win in "Death Valley."
Clemson wins, 24-21.
The team will be fired up for a Thursday night game at Death Valley, and they should come out with some long, crowd-silencing drives. It'll be a close game for much of the night, with Tech potentially holding the lead for a good portion of it. And while this game looks to be a low scoring contest, I think there will be more offense than expected. Georgia Tech hasn't faced an offense close to Clemson's caliber since the Miami game, so it's been a while. In the end though, Boyd, Watkins, and company will find a way to score late in the game to pull ahead for good.
Clemson wins, 41-27.
Atlanta's original team
I have replayed every scenario in my mind to try to figure out how Tech can win Thursday night and I have yet to come up with one winning combination for Tech. My only consolation is that this is Clemson and therefore anything can happen. The one thing that makes me less optimistic than I have been in previous years about this game is that Clemson has already had their worst performance of the year. I do not agree with Dabo Swinney that if they played FSU 10 times they would win five but I do believe they could have played that game much better than they did. They flat froze up and screwed the pooch against the Noles. They will not take Tech for granted as a result. O.K., here it goes. Tech scores two first half touchdowns but has a key turnover that lets Clemson back in the game. Tech's defense plays well but cannot overcome the offense continually putting them in the hole. Clemson wears them down. Sammy Watkins gets free for two long touchdowns and Clemson beats the spread. Now having said all of that I am going to watch the game as if I didn't say any of that. Go Jackets!
For some reason I'm just not confident at all, I don't trust our offense to make plays against bigger defensive lines and while our defense has been doing a great job of "bending but not breaking" this year, Sammy Watkins breaks a lot of defenses.
Clemson wins, 31-13.
Maybe I should not be this optimistic, but Clem's son does not look like a Top 10 team to me. They opened the season with an inspired win at home against uGa. Since then, they have beaten no one against whom we would not be favored. They have a nice record, but that opening win is the only thing that really stands out. Two weeks ago they played a nice game at UVa, but the Cavs are not exactly FSU. The thing that Clemson has going, that worries me, is they have a nice passing attack and we have not played consistently against teams that pass well. Even UVa's Watford torched us for a ton of yards. Our bend, but don't break, defense has served us well enough to usually keep teams off the scoreboard, but Clemson can close the deal better than most. I think we will have difficulty moving the ball on the ground early, but will score a couple of TDs before halftime. Clemson could have 200+ yards passing by the break, but only have a 3-7 point lead. We will make enough adjustments in the second half to make the game very close at the end. I think we will win or lose by less than 3 points. Maybe in overtime.
This game will be close. The spread between these teams is much smaller than assumed. F/+ has Clemson ranked 23rd and GT 27th. Clemson is very good at amassing yardage, but only average in the red zone. I did some simple math with the red zone stats of the ACC teams to show who is the gets the highest percentage of available points in the red zone. You can see the table attached. (The math is [% = (TDs*6 + FGs*3)/(Attempts*6)] pretty simple, really.) They also struggled at home against BC. I think the home field advantage and marginal edge in the F/+ rankings will tell in the end.
Clemson wins, 26-24.
I'm expecting a lot of points on the board. Clemson's defense generally hasn't done well defending against Paul Johnson's offense - in fact, it seems like over the years they've progressively gotten worse at it. Tech should keep the ball moving as long as they keep from turning the ball over - no more than two and I'll be okay with that. Clemson's offense is what worries me. Tech's defense won't be able to feast on their offensive line like they did against Pitt, and Tajh Boyd has plenty of dangerous targets besides just Sammy Watkins. I think Tech keeps it close and the defense will put up an honorable performance against what is undoubtedly the best offense they've seen this year, but I don't think it will be enough to keep the Tigers from outscoring us.
Clemson wins, 34-28.
Both teams can score in this one. Clemson's defensive strength is against the pass, so be prepared to see plenty of option with a few play action passes. On the other side, Clemson's offense will move the ball easily. It'll be the turnovers that decide this one, and I think Tech has one too many. It's a close game throughout, but Clemson cashes in on a costly mistake.
Clemson wins, 38-30.
All I want to talk about is something that has been really put a hurt on GT's offense this season: turnovers. Georgia Tech is -4 in turnover margin for the season and a lot of the turnovers are coming from the B-Back position. I use Jonathan Dwyer as the example by which all others should be compared at B-Back -- a benchmark, if you will. Dwyer only fumbled every 140 touches. David Sims didn't lose a fumble until the 2012 Georgie game so from 2011-2012, he was only fumbling every 137 touches. In 2013, Sims has lost 6 fumbles, or 1 fumble per 20 touches. I foresee GT fumbling in a couple of critical downs under the bright orange lights. I have a 2006-nightmarish feeling about this game but will keep my prediction cheery...Tech stays competitive 'til the 4th quarter like last year.
Clemson wins, 35-28.
It's all up to Vad Lee on the offensive side of the ball. He has got to make precise decisions. Lee will be the key factor in this game. I have no doubt Tech will move the ball against Clemson. Besides 2010, Tech has never had an issue moving the ball on the Tigers. Tech is going to have to win TOP. On defense Tech will put up a solid effort. Clemson has plenty of weapons so containing them will be tough. I believe this will be a game similar to the Miami game. Tech will move the ball and score early but I think Clemson battens the hatches in the second half.
Clemson wins, 34-21.
For me, it comes down to who can control the ball the best. With control comes not turning it over. That being said I think this Tech team is motivated and ready. A week off has got them prepared to perform. I don't think we will be plagued by offensive miscues and sloppy turnovers. Look for the Jackets to slam the ball on the group and play a pretty conservative and controlled passing game (except for the first play of the game). I see the the Tech defense as pretty underrated right now, too. We will have to limit Tajh Boyd to big plays. I have Tech with the upset here.
Georgia Tech wins, 35-31.
I'll be cheering for Tech to the very last snap -- let's get that out of the way right now. However, unfortunately I see this game being the one where we see the huge issue from our best 3 safeties being injured is exposed. Without Isaiah Johnson, Jamal Golden, or Fred Holton, we don't have enough in the secondary to contain the Clemson passing attack to the point where we can win. Granted, Ted Roof is making me more and more of a believer on a weekly basis, and I think our defense surprises a lot of folks in how they show up in this game. I just don't see us having enough on either side of the ball to win though, and I see us losing a close one.
Clemson wins, 30-27.
Are you following the hive mind, or standing with Chas on how this game ends? It's apparent that a lot of the fanbase is leaning towards the "cautious" side of "cautiously optimistic" on this one -- where do you fall on that spectrum?