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Georgia QB JT Daniels and Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei are set to meet Sept. 4 in Charlotte, N.C.
JT Daniels photo Tony Walsh/UGA Sports, DJ Uiagalelei AP Photo

Paul Finebaum: Great expectations for Georgia, predicts Clemson game, foresees SEC title tilt

ATHENS — Georgia football will be returning to the No. 1 ranking in the nation after the opening week of the season according to SEC Network analyst Paul Finebaum.

“I think Georgia is going to beat Clemson,” Finebaum said during the On The Beat Show on DawgNation this week.

“I originally wasn’t sure about that when (Georgia) Pickens went down with the injury, (but) that was a long time ago, a lot of players in the portal,” Finebaum said, referring to UGA adding LSU target Arik Gilbert to replace Pickens at receiver.

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The Bulldogs play the Tigers at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 in Charlotte, N.C., in what has been regarded as the most anticipated game of the early college football season.

“I think Georgia has far more upside in this game than Clemson, and I think Georgia wins this game and they are No. 1 in the country the following Monday,” Finebaum said. “I don’t know how you’d get around that.”

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Finebaum indicated that even in the event that he’s wrong, and the favored Tigers (minus 3 1/2 points) win as expected, it’s still a good situation for Coach Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs.

“If they lose, you know the argument, they’re not a whole lot worse for it,” Finebaum said. “I think they’ll still run the table, I think they’ll play Alabama in the (SEC) championship game ‚and I think they’ll have a chance to get back in.

“If they win the (Clemson) game, it gives them a much easier path, though”.

Finebaum said earlier this week that Kirby Smart was getting far too much negativity in the media, with “talk show Bubbas” spreading false and inaccurate narratives.

RELATED: Finebaum targets ‘talk show Bubbas’ critical of Kirby Smart

“I just think it’s time for the media to concentrate on things that are real,” Finebaum said, “instead of making things up about Kirby Smart.”