Clemson comes to Georgia Tech. Could the Tigers actually lose?

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“A hex on you, Dabo!” (Hyosub Shin/AJC photo)

Georgia Tech has played three games on two continents — Ireland is technically an island, but it counts as Europe — but its season begins now. Tech is 3-0. No news there. The only news would be if Tech weren’t 3-0.

Here are the opponents the Yellow Jackets have bested: Boston College, the ACC’s worst team by some distance; Mercer, which was facing its first opponent from a Power Five conference since 1942, when the Power Five wasn’t actually a thing, and Vanderbilt, which would be the SEC’s worst team by some distance if Kentucky didn’t exist.

Next up is Clemson, and this would have figured to be a Tigers walkaway 16 days ago. But Clemson hasn’t yet been the Clemson we expected. It was life-and-death to beat Auburn at Jordan-Hare, and if those Tigers lose to LSU on Saturday to fall to 1-3, they’ll be in the market for a new coach. The men of Dabo couldn’t distance themselves from Troy, though Troy isn’t awful. (It just beat Southern Miss, which beat, ahem, Kentucky.)

The weekend saw Clemson thump South Carolina State 59-0. We note that the Bulldogs have been outscored 150-24 on the season. We note that Buddy Pough, their coach, acquiesced to shortening the second half from the usual 30 minutes to 24. (One minute — two 30-second quarters — would have sufficed.) We also note that Pough had just seen this:

Not that Clemson has any cause to cluck over a kick-related malfunction. We reference this:

The point being: Clemson hasn’t yet resembled the colossus it was a year ago. This is not uncommon: Florida State was expected to roll through 2014, same as it had 2013; Ohio State was supposed to array the 2015 national title alongside the one it had won the year before. Neither happened. Neither alleged Super Team was, in fact, super.

The difference being: FSU and Ohio State were defending national champions; Clemson is only defending its 2015 ACC title. If Clemson is going to shake its hangover, it better do it before Thursday night. Strange things can happen on the road — might ask Florida State about its trip to Louisville, or about its last venture into Bobby Dodd Stadium — and Tech is capable of giving the Tigers, who’ve slid from No. 2 in preseason to No. 5 in this week’s rankings, a run.

This admonition shouldn’t be taken as a prediction. The checkers aren’t equal. If Clemson plays at or near capacity, it will win. But the longer the Tigers go without finding their mojo, the more we wonder if it’s gone for good.

Super fun reading:

Mercy! Tech’s defense didn’t exactly shut down Mercer.

Justin Thomas sits for a half. Tech wins anyway.

MB’s Top 25: Clemson is No. 1.

Football Outsiders: Tech to go 6-6, UGA 10-2.

What a football-first Tech AD might ask Paul Johnson.

Mike Bobinski’s legacy at Georgia Tech: There isn’t one.

Who’s picking the over on W’s for Tech and UGA? Why, me.

Is picking Tech sixth in the Coastal really so crazy?

Pigskin Pickin’ 2016: UGA to go 10-2, Tech 7-5.

It’s April, and already Paul Johnson is ticked.

Reader Comments 0

226 comments
Peachs
Peachs

ACC football, get to know it, if you want to write about college football!

Zino
Zino

Clemson has way too much speed and size for tech -- they should win by 13 +

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@CedricM
Yes, they should, but they also should have won every other time recently at Bobby Dodd stadium, but somehow they didn't.  GO JACKETS !!!

Peachs
Peachs

@CedricM Watson is the best quarterback we have seen on Thursday night since Matty came to town. 

Jmonty
Jmonty

@CedricM The said the same about UGA, yet we play them tough, most years 

The Doom
The Doom

As a Bama fan I would have put Clemson ahead of us at no. 1 to start out the season based on how strong they finished last year and the key players they had coming back like the qb and rb. But it seems that the complacency bug may have hit them over the offseason and maybe they read too many press clippings telling them how great they were. 


Same thing happened to the Bama 2010 team which was absolutely loaded and coming off a 14-0 2009 season. Instead, that turned out to be the worst Saban team of the last 8 years, going a disappointing 10-3.  

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Doom Classical liberal I agree! Clemson will either wake up this weekend and play to their capabilities, trounce Tech, or get trounced. I thought Clemson should have been ranked preseason #1 also.

CoronaGT
CoronaGT

Sure hope Clemson doesn't wake up til this weekend - the game with Tech is on Thursday.

Peachs
Peachs

@Doom Classical liberal Clemson is good but they may not even be the best in the ACC.  That Louisville game is going to be the best game of the season anywhere in this country. 

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

Of course GT has a chance, an excellent chance.  However, if Watson is on his game and doesn't get hurt like he did the last time he played Tech in Atlanta, the game will be a shootout.  That being said, Tech will score at will over a very suspect Clemson defense.  This game really is all about how Watson plays.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Surelyyoujest". . . Tech will score at will over a very suspect Clemson defense."

_________________

Pretty ballsy prediction.

Is it objective?

;-)

TOJacket
TOJacket

Has Lamarvelous stopped running yet?

Jmonty
Jmonty

@Surelyyoujest I feel that a shootout is going to happen, as well.  Been a while between these 2 teams.

GTroller
GTroller

You do realize that Tech is 12-8 against Clemson the past 20 years?  Said another way--- we're more consistently the better team.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Don't start sounding like that idiot 12/13.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Bringing out facts, history and records is just too much for the old timer to handle these days. 13 of 15 will do that to you when you live and die by everything your instate rival does like TOjackhole does.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

Since Johnson and Dabo became HC's at their current schools, they have gone against each other 9 times.  GT is 3-0 in ATL, 1-0 at a neutral site and 1-4 at Clemson (I loved how the ACC forced GT to go to Clemson 2 years in a row after a few years earlier forcing them to go to VT 2 years in a row - all to "balance" the schedule).  Clemson has better talent but the monkey is on Dabo's back in this one.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@PaulinNH The teams have played 80 times, with Tech leading the series 50–28–2, with 59 games played in Atlanta, and only 19 games played in Clemson's Memorial Stadium

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Surelyyoujest

Good fact-finding there, syj.

Didn't realize the series was that lopsided--in wins or locations.

TOJacket
TOJacket

As I have said before....History

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@PaulinNH The ACC didn't force us to go to Clemson two years in a row.  GT requested that to even out the home/away schedule so uga/Clemson were on opposite years.  The ACC merely obliged our request.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@PaulinNH Isn't Clemson 2-0? I think PJ would have liked to have that monkey on his back last year. So, do they give Tech $900 to show up? Of course PJ is 2-0 against similar talent.

Jmonty
Jmonty

@AugustaJacket @PaulinNH AJ is right.  They did that because of the UGA/Clemson schedule.  Personally, I agree with the one away and one home, per year.  

Jmonty
Jmonty

My 2 cents?  It's been a while since GT and Clemson had a shootout.  I just have this feeling, it's going to be a high scoring game.  The offense is rolling.  JT looks comfortable.  The line and backs are blocking better.  The defense has just enough swag to cause a turnover here and there, I think.  I am really thinking one team scores in the 40s and the other in the upper 30s.  Which one wins?  Depends on which Clemson team shows up and depends on which GT team shows up.  But, if we play sound football, we definitely have a chance to pull an upset.  The more I think about it, the more I think GT scores another top 5 upset.  GT 41 Clemson 38.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Best post you've had in a while.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Straight up.....Clemson.......I will always take CPJ's offense and points.

Jmonty
Jmonty

@TOJacket Why, thanks TO.  I'll save the Roof banter for another time.  :) 

CKPA1
CKPA1

Go suck some obongo dong

TideDawg
TideDawg

They may catch Clemson looking ahead to the Louisville game, otherwise "you gotta be kidding". PJ says GT's offense(which he coaches) may be as good as they were in 2014, no praise for the defense coached by Roof......they may also be as bad as the other years. They're 3-0 and obviously the defense had nothing to do with that....... We'll see!

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@TideDawg 

The D plays their best after Johnson jumps all over Roof, like he did after Vandy's first series Saturday.  When the D starts off a game playing like they ultimately did Saturday, then I will brag about Roof.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt @TideDawg OK! I don't like PJ and you don't Like Roof.......Stalemate! If Roof goes to another ACC opponent I'll bet he knows a lot about how to stop PJ's offense.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@TideDawg PJ is all about PJ.  He's a smug punk with little man syndrome.  Never cared for the guy. 

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@TideDawg 

The defense had a lot to do with the win against Vandy, holding one of the SEC's top running backs to something like 69 yards in 18 carries.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@dawg fan 

That's total BS.  If that were the case, why do so many of his players past and present love the man?  Even Calvin Johnson, who never played under him, often comes to games and stands on the sideline with the team and coaches.  As with most mutts, you really don't have a clue.  And nobody cares whether you like him or not.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@TideDawg 

Roof won't be going anywhere, whether I am totally convinced of his coaching abilities or not.  He has proven himself to be a helluva recruiter the past couple of years, so I am more than willing to wait and see what he can do with his recruits.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt I never said you cared, although you clearly do.  Anyone who has been as defensive as he has over the years has some mommy issues.  I think he's bush league.  Sorry. 

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@dawg fan

Defensive how?  If a reporter, who should know better, asks a stupid question, then he gives a well-deserved curt response.  If he is asked an intelligent question, then he is completely open and honest.  You just believe what you want to believe.

Jmonty
Jmonty

@TideDawg In the off chance of being blasted.  I agree with you TideDawg.  How much is Clemson looking ahead?  They had to see the beat down FSU just got.  Considering they beat the crap out of GT last year, are they assuming it's an easy game?  Historically, Clemson does not fair that well in Atlanta.  Added to that, did you know Clemson's last regular season loss what at, where?  You guessed it 28-6 loss to GT at Bobby Dodd.  I think we're a good bit better on offense.  On defense?  Meh... We'll see.  Our defense had one great game last year, against FSU and didn't fair well the rest.  Now the offense didn't help them either.  So, not 100% the defense's fault.  My only issue is that we can't seem to get teams off the field very well.  I would like to see more 3 and outs.  If our D can force Clemson to punt 3-4 times, we should win.  Either way, I see it as a very close game.  

TOJacket
TOJacket

Your hero of hand offs said he was one of the best I the country....god you're stupid.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Roofs a big boy.... Insure he understands CPJ demeanor.

TOJacket
TOJacket

That short man in T Town is the same way.... He's a great coach like CPJ too.

TOJacket
TOJacket

God you're stupid dawg phlegm.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Best "I" the country???

There you go again.

And still calling others stupid.

Ahh, the irony.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

And again!

At least you spelled "you're" correctly. Did you flip a coin? 

TOJacket
TOJacket

He!! No!........nothing typical about me VB.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Old, stupid, obnoxious, and obsessed with UGA. Sounds more like a little ten fan than the normal tech fan.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Yeah, including those two on the same post is just laughable.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Because he is a backwoods buffoon....a rube.....you know....a typical mutt fan.