There are numerous must-see college football games on the opening week of the season, but none are bigger than Saturday's SEC-ACC showdown between Georgia and Clemson (8 p.m. ET, ABC).
Both teams feature prolific offenses led by senior quarterbacks. Both teams have conference and national championship aspirations. And both teams are oozing NFL talent. This is the definition of must-see TV.
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Clemson came from behind to beat SEC-power LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl last season. It was a huge stepping stone for the Tigers, who had been blown out by another SEC team in South Carolina in November.
Now they get a crack at Mark Richt’s Bulldogs, who are loaded on offense but have a lot of question marks on the defensive side of the ball.
Georgia is a 2-point road favorite. Clemson is 0-2 against the spread as a home underdog under coach Dabo Swinney.
The explosive Cowboys collide with the defensive-minded Bulldogs of the SEC. The game will be played at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
Oklahoma State is 13-6 against the spread in its last 19 games as a double-digit favorite. The Bulldogs have failed to cover the spread in their last six games as underdogs away from home.
The first look at two-time defending champion Alabama comes against Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
One of the key matchups to keep an eye on is Hokie true freshman left tackle Jonathan McLaughlin versus the Alabama pass rush. If McLaughlin and the rest of Virginia Tech cannot keep the Crimson Tide’s pass rush off QB Logan Thomas, the Hokies will be in for a long afternoon.
The Crimson Tide are 23-1 straight up and 15-6 against the spread in September under coach Nick Saban
Another SEC-Big 12 matchup, the Tigers and Horned Frogs will meet at Cowboys Stadium.
LSU is around a 4-point favorite. Running back Jeremy Hill’s availability is in question; considered the starter entering the summer, Hill ran into some off-the-field issues and was listed on the third team of LSU’s depth chart.
The game also marks the return of TCU quarterback Casey Pachall, who missed all of last season dealing with substance abuse issues.