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The college football season kicks off in full on Thursday night with the reigning national champions taking the field for the first time. No. 1 Clemson will host Georgia Tech at home in Death Valley as it looks to continue its dominant run of success through the ACC over the last five years. With the conference receiving a lack of offseason criticism for its lacking depth, can the Yellow Jackets shut up the haters and make some noise against one of the nation’s bests teams?
It’s the perfect game to kick off the newly launched ACC Network, as Dabo Swinney and the Tigers will run Howard’s Rock and descend down the hill at Death Valley to what is sure to be plenty of fanfare from Clemson fans who have relished their favorite program’s position at the top of mountain in college football.
What’s going to go down Thursday night in Death Valley? Let’s take a look at the game.
Clemson: It’s a coronation night for the Tigers. Swinney will insist that this is a brand new roster, but the rest of the country is going to tune in for more of the same from Trevor Lawrence. Last we saw the superstar quarterback, he was lighting up the scoreboard and when he takes the field alongside Justyn Ross, Tee Higgins and Travis Etienne on Thursday night, the expectation is going to be more of the same. This five-touchdown point spread suggests that Georgia Tech won’t provide much resistance, so pretty much everyone is expecting a celebratory mood from kickoff to conclusion in Death Valley on Thursday night.
Georgia Tech: The arrival of Geoff Collins signals the end of an era for the Yellow Jackets on offense. The expectations for Georgia Tech in 2019 are very much in line with the “Year Zero” terminology used to describe coaches who face massive roster rebuilds. The team that Collins inherited had no tight ends on the roster, for example, but ran at least two deep at three different running back positions. Expectations aren’t high, but the intrigue for football fans is high if for no other reason than we haven’t seen Georgia Tech be anything but Paul Johnson’s vision for football in quite a while.
Date: Thursday, Aug. 29 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Clemson Memorial Stadium — Clemson, South Carolina
TV: ACC Network | Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Radio: SiriusXM channel 84 or Clemson Tigers Sports Radio
Game prediction, picks
This is a ludicrous point spread for two teams that play each other every single year, even if one is the reigning national champion and the other is moving into Year Zero with its first non-option based roster in more than a decade. Collins will have his group energized and I think the defensive side of the ball is going to be able to make enough plays against the heavy favorites to get the cover.