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Neither Georgia Tech quarterback Lucas Johnson (left) nor head coach Geoff Collins will be happy to see Clemson Thursday (Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Neither Georgia Tech quarterback Lucas Johnson (left) nor head coach Geoff Collins will be happy to see Clemson Thursday (Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution)|Associated Press
NCAAF

ACC Thursday: Eckel picks Georgia Tech at Clemson

Mark Eckel

Georgia Tech at No. 1 Clemson (-35 1/2), 8 p.m., ACC Network

The defending national champion Tigers open the season at home against their closest geographical ACC rival in the Yellow Jackets.

It won’t be a game.

The only drama in this one will be to see if Georgia Tech can extend an impressive streak of 274 consecutive games without being shut out.

Clemson lost all of its dominant front four on defense from last year’s title team, but returns an offense that might have the best quarterback (Trevor Lawrence) and running back (Travis Etienne) in the country.

Georgia Tech has a new head coach in Geoff Collins and he’s made drastic changes on both sides of the ball. The offense is now a pro set, as opposed to the option they ran for the past 11 seasons, and the defense has gone from a 3-4 to a 4-2-5 scheme. Collins also has 55 freshmen on his roster.

New looks and new players is not a good recipe to open against the No. 1 team in the country.

Tech hasn’t won at Clemson since 2008 and hasn’t beaten a top-ranked team since 1990 when they knocked off Virginia. Both of those streaks continue as will the Yellow Jackets shutout streak . . . but just barely.

Pick: Clemson -35 1/2

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