It sounds cliché.
The team who controls the line of scrimmage in Saturday’s top five showdown between Clemson and Georgia will win the game. That is football. That is the way it is.
The team that wins this battle wins the majority of the time.
“Ultimately, it comes down to who can win the line of scrimmage,” Dabo Swinney said Tuesday when asked at his weekly press conference what matchup might decide the game. “I don’t want to single out one person, but in a game like this you have to find a way to come out on top in the trenches.
“You are not going to win every battle. Neither are they. But who can consistently win those matchups, because that dictates everything else from just a matchup standpoint.”
Both teams have dominant defensive fronts, anchored by preseason All-Americans in Clemson’s Bryan Bresee and Georgia’s Jordan Davis.
On the offensive line, both teams are replacing two starters, but Georgia’s line is a little older and has more depth, which can be an advantage for the Bulldogs. Fifth-ranked Georgia also has a premiere running back in Zamir White, while the Tigers are still trying to find a replacement for Travis Etienne.
Heading into the 7:30 p.m. showdown at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, third-ranked Clemson still has more questions on the offensive line than anywhere else. Who will start at center? Who will start at guard? Do they have enough depth?
“There is so much more that can go into,” Swinney said. “You can play well upfront, but drop the ball, have stupid penalties, whatever, bad plays in special teams. So, it is not just the one factor, but I do think from just a matchup standpoint that is critical in a game like this, based on what both teams want to do and who they want to be.”
Football season has finally arrived. Time to represent your Tigers and show your stripes!