Outside of Clemson’s season opener in Charlotte, N.C. against Georgia it is not exactly murderers’ row for the Tigers this year.
ESPN analyst Bill Connelly gave Clemson an 85-percent or higher probability to win each game on its schedule outside of the matchup with the Bulldogs and a 92-percent or higher chance to win eight of the remaining 11 games.
However, stranger things have happened and taking a look at the Tigers’ other Power Five opponents.
Georgia Tech enters its third season under head coach Geoff Collins and is still looking for their first bowl game under the new staff. The Yellow Jackets still have a way to go but Collins thinks his program now has the culture to turn a corner with some help from the transfer.
Last meeting: The Tigers rolled Georgia Tech 73-7 in Atlanta at Bobby Dodd Stadium last season. In the game Clemson extended its longest win streak in program history over the Yellow Jackets to six games with the second most lopsided win in the history of the matchup.
Last season: Georgia Tech finished the season 3-7 overall and 3-6 in the ACC. It struggled to compete with other schools in the conference and did not lose a game by less than 10 points. The Yellow Jackets’ three wins last year came over Florida State, Louisville and Duke.
Coaching staff: Geoff Collins is in his third season at the helm in Atlanta and has added some talent to the roster with transfers.
Returners: Jeff Sims returns at quarterback and completed 141-of-257 passes (54-percent) for 1881 yards and 13 touchdowns. But the biggest issue for Sims was turnovers, he matched his touchdown total with 13 interceptions. He also contributed with 120 rushes for 492 yards and four touchdowns. Sims needs to have more consistency for Georgia Tech to show improvement.
The Yellow Jackets also return a strong stall of running backs behind Jahmyr Gibbs who is back for his sophomore season after rushing 89 times for a team best 460 yards and four touchdowns and catching 24 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns. But the offensive line was one of the worst in the conference last season, but the transfer portal should help after 28 false starts last year.
Last year Georgia Tech finished dead last in the ACC in total defense last season. T.K. Chimedza will be back after missing last season with an injury at tackle which will provide a boost. Senior Quez Jackson is poised to lead the unit after recording 80 tackles and two interceptions last season. Antonneous Clayton will also return for another shot at the NFL. At defensive back it returns Juanyeh Thomas, Tariq Carpenter and Zamari Walton which should make the Yellow Jackets salty in pass protection.
Additions: The biggest source of additions for Georgia Tech this season is the transfer portal. Collins and staff hit the portal hard this offseason to fill gaps on both sides of the ball. They added two offensive tackles in Norfolk State’s Kenneth Kirby and Vanderbilt’s Devin Cochran. On defense the Jackets added All-Conference USA player Kevion White who moves from tight end to defensive end. They also picked up Kevin Harris at defensive end.
Subtractions: There are not a lot of big losses for Georgia Tech entering 2021.
Key matchups: The biggest matchup for the Yellow Jackets is against themselves. Georgia Tech committed a shocking number of penalties last season which inhibited the teams chances to compete in most of its games. It ranked 121 in the FBS in terms of penalties and committed nearly half of those in dead ball situations. There is a significant talent gap between the Tigers and Yellow Jackets and the chance for them to compete in other games.
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