CHARLOTTE — Clemson and Georgia are top-5 teams starting the season against each other, which one ESPN college football analyst believes is fitting considering the programs’ recent histories.
“They are among the five teams that have separated themselves (in college football),” said Rece Davis, the host of College Gameday, the network’s popular weekly pregame show. “I would say Alabama and Clemson have maybe further separated themselves from the other three. But certainly this tier of 5 is an elite tier.”
Ohio State and Oklahoma are also in that tier Davis referenced, but Clemson and Georgia have been nearly as successful as any of them heading into their showdown Saturday at Bank of America Stadium. The Tigers have dominated the ACC of late with six straight conference championships, which have earned them an appearance in the College Football Playoff all six times.
Meanwhile, Georgia has won 52 games in Kirby Smart’s five seasons at the helm, including three SEC Eastern Division titles. The Bulldogs won the league title in 2017 and has been to the CFP twice, though Georgia has yet to win it all in the playoff era.
That’s what, in Davis’ opinion, separates the two programs for now.
“Probably the only difference is that Clemson. in this era, has been to the mountaintop a couple of times and Georgia has not,” Davis said, referencing the Tigers’ national championships in 2016 and 2018.
Clemson Georgia will get their first chance to decide it on the field since their most recent head-to-head matchup in 2014, a game Georgia won convincingly. It will also be the first matchup of top-5 teams to start a season since Alabama and Florida State did so in 2017.
Clemson was ranked No. 2 and No. 3 by the coaches and the Associated Press, respectively, in the preseason. Georgia was at No. 5 in both polls.
Football season has finally arrived. Time to represent your Tigers and show your stripes!