canada africa partner reservation CFB Analyst: Week 1 Line ‘Disrespectful to Clemson’ and ‘A Compliment to Georgia’

CFB Analyst: Week 1 Line ‘Disrespectful to Clemson’ and ‘A Compliment to Georgia’

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On Barrett Sallee’s College Football Smothered and Covered podcast, the nationally known college football analyst weighed in on some Week 1 game lines, including Clemson vs. Georgia.

The Tigers and Bulldogs are set to square off at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 31, and Clemson is currently a 12.5-point underdog.

Sallee believes “it’s the right line,” even though he projects Clemson to win the ACC Championship this season and be the No. 3 seed in the inaugural 12-team College Football Playoff.

“That is disrespectful. That’s insane. And yet it’s the right line. That’s how big the gap has gotten between Georgia and Clemson,” Sallee said. “Is that an indictment of Clemson? Yeah. Is it more of a compliment to Georgia? Yeah, I think it’s more of a compliment to Georgia. We don’t know what Clemson will be.

“Now, look, I have Clemson as the No. 3 seed in my College Football Playoff, only because somebody has to win the ACC, and it might as well be Clemson. This doesn’t count towards that record, this doesn’t negate the fact that I still think Clemson will win the ACC. How are they going to win this game? They’re going to have to run the ball. We know Mafah can do that, but he doesn’t have the supporting cast. I don’t know what Cade Klubnik can be. Is he going to be the guy that can dink and dunk? Because that’s really all he was last year. Yeah, he’s more than a willing runner, but not Johnny Manziel or anything like that.”

Sallee said he’s high on Clemson’s offensive line and other pieces in place on both sides of the ball, but he’s clearly not sold on Klubnik, and Sallee sees the Bulldogs treating the game against the Tigers “like a heavyweight fighter.”

“What was last year, was it Cade Klubnik or was it Garrett Riley? I think at some point you have to sort of accept the fact that it was the quarterback and not the coach,” Sallee said. “Because we know what the coach can do. Led TCU to the national championship game a couple years ago. Garrett Riley’s done that. And Dabo Swinney has given him the reins and said, ‘Dude, go do your thing.’ Maybe he just can’t. Maybe he just can’t.

“Now, I love their offensive line and the skill pieces around on the offensive and defensive side of the ball for that matter. But how are they going to hang in this game? We know how Georgia treats these games. It’s like a heavyweight fighter. They just kind of dance around early, may even get into a deficit early, just kind of let things come to them, and then by the third quarter, they’ve just suffocated you and the game is over. That’s what I think this will be, or at least how Georgia will treat it.”

Sallee concluded that the big point spread is both “disrespectful to Clemson” and “a compliment to Georgia.”

“It is absolutely both. Absolutely both,” he said. “In years past, Clemson would have the benefit of the doubt, most specifically because of the defense — I know we’re talking about offense and Trevor and Deshaun and all that stuff — most specifically because of the defense. They regenerate defensive linemen after defensive linemen, and that’s what’s ultimately led them to the success they had in 2016 and 2018. They haven’t been able to do that. Do they have that this year? Not as much as that, as they had in those years, and as a result, they’re going to be relying a lot on the offense and I just don’t buy it. And then Georgia’s just an absolute monster. We know what Georgia is.”

Clemson will attempt to earn its first win against Georgia since 2013 in a matchup of regional rivals that have accounted for four of the last eight national championships. In the series’ 17 installments since 1980, the winner of this contest went on to win the national championship three times.

The Tigers (9-4, 4-4 ACC in 2023) are looking to return to the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2020 following six straight playoff appearances from 2015-20. The Bulldogs (13-1, 8-1 SEC in 2023) won back-to-back national titles in 2021 and 2022 before missing the playoff last season.

A limited number of signed footballs from Clemson’s 2022 class are still available. Get yours while supplies last! Visit Clemson Variety & Frame or purchase online!