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ESPN tabs Clemson’s matchup against Georgia as their season defining game in 2024

Dabo Swinney and his Tigers kick off their 2024 season with a thrilling start, hitting the road to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Their Week 1 showdown awaits against the anticipated No. 1 squad in the nation, the Georgia Bulldogs.

This season opener sets the stage for an electrifying kickoff, with Clemson stepping onto the field as the underdog with much to prove. Yet, history shows the Tigers thrive in this role, and this game presents a prime opportunity for them to make a resounding statement and regain momentum.

With both teams feeling the weight of expectations, the matchup carries immense significance. For Georgia and Clemson alike, this clash could determine the trajectory of their 2024 seasons, making it a pivotal moment for both programs. According to ESPN, this matchup is the Tigers season-defining game.

Clemson’s three toughest games are likely all in the first five weeks, including the season opener against Georgia, a home date against NC State and a trip to Tallahassee. But if we’re forced to pick one, let’s put the spotlight on Georgia. Clemson’s three worst seasons during Swinney’s run of success at the school have come in 2014, 2021 and 2023. The common thread? The Tigers lost their opener in all three years, including two to the Bulldogs. Georgia won’t define the Tigers’ ACC or playoff hopes, but it will be the ultimate litmus test to decide if Clemson is capable of getting back to contending for a national title. — Hale

Clemson’s mission to reclaim its status among the nation’s elite teams hinges on revitalizing its offense. Reflecting on their previous clash in 2021, which ended in a low-scoring 10-3 defeat against UGA, underscores the pressing need for offensive improvement that is still relevant in 2024.

The Tigers’ absence of offensive touchdowns in their last encounter underscores ongoing challenges. Now, the spotlight is on second-year offensive coordinator Garrett Riley and sophomore quarterback Cade Klubnik to spark a turnaround. With the offense under scrutiny, the potential for an upset looms if Clemson can ignite its firepower from the outset.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire