Clemson and Alabama meet again to kick off the college football season Saturday night. Alabama has won the last 11 meetings, the last of which was in 1975. I don't think that will have any affect on the players on Saturday night. The Tigers and the Tide come together for a heavyweight bout on Saturday night in the Georgia Dome.
Clemson on Offense
'Bama is definitely over matched by Clemson' LOADED offense. The Tigers return have stars at all of the skill positions, but are somewhat inexperienced on the O-Line. Clemson returns 8 starters from one of the nation's best offenses last season. Alabama comes in with a very young but talented defense which is evident by that of the 33 players on the defensive depth chart, only 2 are seniors. The Tide lost 6 players from last season's solid defense. Clemson comes in with arguably the best backfield in the nation with James Davis and C.J. Spiller. Cullen Harper also returns at quarterback. Last season Harper threw for 27 TD's and only 6 picks in his first year as a starter. The Tigers also return big time receiver Aaron Kelly, who is within reach of several ACC and Clemson receiving records this season. The Tigers also return possession receiver Tyler Grisham, and speedster Jacoby Ford, who runs a sub 4.16 40-yd. dash. On the O-Line, Clemson is going with Chris Hairston at LT, Jamarcus Grant at LG, Thomas Austin at C, Barry Humphries at RG, and Cory Lambert at RT. Hairston, Austin, and Humphries all started games last season, but Grant and Lambert have not previously started. In my opinion, the Tigers should have no problem scoring through the air and on the ground in this match-up.
Clemson on Defense
Clemson has a very strong defense returning with 7 players coming back from a defense that ranked in the top 15 nationally in total defense last season. Alabama has a talented O-Line, a solid and experienced quarterback, and some young talented receivers. The Tigers have a stacked D-Line returning, and they should have no problem getting a pass rush on Alabama's QB, John Parker Wilson. The one area of concern for Clemson's D is linebacker, they replace all 3 of last year's starters. The Tigers are young but very athletic at that position. Alabama's freshman sensation, WR Julio Jones, is a game changer, but Clemson returns all 4 players in the secondary and Wilson will likely have little time in the pocket to throw the ball to Jones with Clemson's devastating pass rush spearheaded by Ricky Sapp and No.1 overall prospect in the nation according to ESPN in Da'Quan Bowers. The Tigers D should be able to lock up the Tide for most of this game.
Clemson has 2 gamebreakers returning kicks in Jacoby Ford and C.J. Spiller, but Alabama has one of their own in Javier Arenas. Special Teams has traditionally been a problem for the Tigers, but this off-season the Tommy Bowden finally came to his senses and named a special teams coach. Clemson returns kicker Mark Bucholz, who Tiger fans will always remember for nailing a last second kick to beat rival South Carolina last season. Punting for the Tigers will either be last years starter Jimmy Maners or freshman Dawson Zimmerman.
Clemson definitely has more talent, but it is the 1st game of the season and anything can happen. I expect the Tigers to come out focused and ready to go. Clemson will run the ball with "Thunder and Lightning" and Harper will throw it all around to Aaron Kelly against the Alabama defense. Clemson's defense will pressure John Parker Wilson all night and prevent Julio Jones from getting touches. Bowers and Sapp will be coming right out of Wilson's dreams. The Tigers will come out and Roll the Tide Right Out of the Dome on Saturday night.
Clemson 38 Alabama 17
College Gameday gets it kicked off Saturday morning at 10 am eastern from Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. The time is coming. ACC vs. SEC. Saturday night. 8 pm. ABC Primetime. College Football Kickoff Classic. Clemson will start it's ACC and National Championship run.
Man I'm Ready For Some FOOTBALL!!!!