Clemson’s Dabo Swinney has won nine of ten season openers as a head coach.

Clemson will begin defense of its national title Thursday night in Death Valley against long-time rival Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets lead the all-time series 50-31-2, but the Tigers have won the last four in convincing fashion (average score: Clemson 35.5, Georgia Tech 15.5). The spread of 36 points illustrates the perceived talent differential in Clemson’s favor and first-year coach Geoff Collins faces the monumental task of unveiling new schemes on both sides of the ball in a hostile environment. But Coach Swinney opened his Tuesday press conference by pointing out the one factor in the Yellow Jackets favor: The element of surprise.


  • On the defensive line: We just don’t have any Alpha Dogs up there right now, but that will come. Our strength will be in numbers.
  • DL Logan Cash (out for year with injury) has decided to move on (leave school).
  • A lot of unknowns heading into this game … we’ve been watching a lot of Temple, but we’re not playing Temple. We’ll be ready to adjust on the fly … We’re just getting ready for what we think they will do. We don’t know, for sure … Don’t have a lot of tape on their QB or guys catching balls.
  • Whatever happens Thursday, we’ll have a lot of work to do … not only do we have 40 new guys, we have guys in new roles.
  • We’re going to play a bunch of guys. We still don’t know who’s going to run out there first at a couple of spots.
  • On offensive line: We feel good about our OL. We’re going to play 9, 10, maybe 11 guys a game.
  • On ACC Network: Just watched The Huddle. I thought Mark Richt was great. He was funny … to have a network constantly promoting the ACC, that’s a game changer.
  • On radio broadcast: I think CJ Spiller is the “Rodney Williams” this week. I never listen to you guys on radio. I’ll go back and listen this week.