It was solely three years in the past that Georgia appeared primed to win its first nationwide championship since 1968. The Bulldogs led Alabama by 13 factors at halftime. A coronation in Atlanta appeared inevitable.
Then Tua Tagovailoa occurred. The Crimson Tide made a killer interception of Jake Fromm. And Georgia hasn’t been the identical since.
Saturday evening in Charlotte, N.C., the Bulldogs can start to climb their means again to elite standing. Beat the No. 3 Tigers and the fifth-ranked Bulldogs will make an early assertion they’re a real title contenders, with USC switch JT Daniels below middle.
The main focus on this anticipated showdown will middle on the 2 quarterbacks. Daniels completed properly final 12 months for Georgia following main knee surgical procedure, throwing 10 landing passes and finishing 67.2 % of his passes for 1,231 yards in 4 wins. Now he has to again it up, and accomplish that with out his high receiver, George Pickens, who had surgical procedure on is correct knee after tearing his ACL in March.
For Clemson, life begins after Trevor Lawrence, the highest choose within the NFL draft. Sophomore D.J. Uiagalelei, a high prospect who was spectacular in two begins rather than Lawrence as a freshman, now takes middle stage.
The 2 groups final met within the 2014 opener, a 45-21 Georgia rout by which Todd Gurley ran for 198 yards and three touchdowns. A lot has modified for Clemson since then. The Tigers have grow to be a nationwide powerhouse with two nationwide titles and 6 straight berths within the School Soccer Playoff.
Georgia, in the meantime, has remained a powerful — however not premier — program besides apart from reaching the nationwide title recreation in 2018. The Bulldogs have dropped their final 4 video games towards top-five opponents. They want to get again to that stage this season and really feel they’ve the quarterback to get them there. A win Saturday evening can be an enormous step towards that purpose.
Under is a have a look at the opposite notable video games of the weekend:
No. 19 Penn State at No. 12 Wisconsin, Midday
There’s no easing into the season for these rivals. Penn State and Wisconsin bounce proper in with an early check that may say quite a bit in regards to the winner. After their worst season in 16 years (4-5, third place within the Huge Ten East), the Nittany Lions will look to atone, and the offense might have to hold them early with so many new items on the opposite aspect of the ball. That received’t be a straightforward job towards Wisconsin’s protection, which allowed the fifth-fewest yards per recreation (299.9) within the nation final 12 months and returns eight starters.
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 14 Miami (in Atlanta), 3:30 p.m.
Alabama has made a behavior out of emasculating main non-SEC opponents in these openers. From 2012-19, the Crimson Tide began with fellow Energy 5 faculties, and received by a mean of 27.3 factors per recreation. Even when mega-talented sophomore quarterback Bryce Younger struggles considerably in his first profession begin, count on extra of the identical. Alabama’s protection is improved and, although Miami quarterback D’Eriq King will put up numbers, he’ll commit a number of turnovers, too.
No. 17 Indiana at No. 18 Iowa, 3:30 p.m.
Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. made Indiana a part of the nationwide dialog final 12 months earlier than struggling a season-ending knee harm. He’s again, wholesome and able to construct on final 12 months, when he tossed 14 landing passes and averaged 274.2 yards by means of the air in six video games. He will get an early check right here from Iowa, which options top-of-the-line secondaries within the nation.
No. 23 Louisiana at No. 21 Texas. 4:30 p.m.
Our favourite recreation of this jam-packed weekend. Louisiana upset Iowa State a 12 months in the past, almost shocked Mississippi State the 12 months earlier than and returns third-year beginning quarterback Levi Lewis. The Cyclones are dwell underdogs right here in Steve Sarkisian’s debut as Texas head coach. Explosive Longhorns operating again Bijan Robinson could not face a more durable defensive entrance in convention play than the one led by Zi’Yon Hill and Tayland Humphrey.
No. 16 LSU at UCLA, 8:30 p.m.
Is UCLA that good or is Hawaii that dangerous? It’s possible someplace within the center after the Bruins’ 44-10 rout final week. This week might be rather more of a litmus check for Chip Kelly’s program. LSU might be additional motivated coming off final 12 months’s dismal 5-5 marketing campaign that led to vital adjustments on Coach Ed Orgeron’s workers. Prediction: The Bruins received’t run for 244 yards towards LSU, as they did in Week 1.
No. 9 Notre Dame at Florida State, 7:30 p.m.
This opener ought to give Florida State followers an early indication whether or not the Seminoles are able to return to show a nook after three straight dropping seasons. Notre Dame could also be ranked too excessive, at No. 9, after dropping plenty of key gamers, from quarterback Ian E-book to offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg to linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, however the Combating Irish stay formidable and have two game-changers: dynamic operating again Kyren Williams and All-American security Kyle Hamilton.