No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs (3-1 SU, 1-2-1 ATS) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS)
College Football Week 6
Date and Time: Saturday October 5th, 2013. 3:30PM Eastern
Where: Neyland Stadium Knoxville, T.N.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UGA -10.5/UT +10.5
Over/Under Total: 65.5
The no. 6 Georgia Bulldogs' journey back to Atlanta for an SEC Championship takes a stop in Knoxville this week when UGA battles the Tennessee Volunteers in a SEC Eastern Division face-off. The Bulldogs captured a huge win between the hedges last week over top 10 ranked LSU in a 44-41 shootout. The victory kept the Bulldogs perfect in conference play and in the driver's seat of the SEC East. Now Aaron Murray and a red hot Georgia offense look to avoid any letdown performance when they will travel into Knoxville as rather large double digit favorites.
Up the road in Knoxville, the Volunteers have started the season with a rugged 3-2 mark. The Volunteers suffered back to back losses at Oregon and then at Florida before bouncing back last week with a ugly 31-24 victory over South Alabama. Head coach Butch Jones has done an excellent job on the recruiting trail bring in superior high school talent which has restored hope for the Tennessee faithful. Still, the Volunteers are struggling on the field and desperately need a program changing type of victory.
For Tennessee to pull off that type of victory, they will have to find a way to hold onto the football. In the last two games the Volunteers have given up 10 turnovers. QB Justin Worley has been responsible for 5 interceptions during those games and backup Nathan Peterman has also tossed two picks as well. Obviously it is hard to win football games with those types of mistakes on offense. The Volunteers cannot afford any mistakes this Saturday as giving Georgia's offense extra chances will almost certainly spell disaster. While the quarterback play has been horrendous for the Vols, the offense does have a pretty talented running game with tailbacks Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane. Both backs are averaging 6 yards per touch and have racked up 9 total touchdowns thus far this season. Therefore this Tennessee offense can move the football if they can avoid those dreaded turnovers.
The visiting Gators will also get their first true test of the 2013 season this Saturday as they make their first road trip of the year. Florida had a snoozing 24-6 victory over Toledo in their opener last week. Ironically it was the Gators off the field issues that made storylines as 5 players were suspended for breaking team rules prior to kickoff. While all players will play this Saturday, it is hard to ignore some of the internal issues that the Gators have faced this off-season. Florida was a team that most would agree over-achieved last season to finish 11-2.
Perhaps the bigger worry for Tennessee will be on the defensive side of the ball. The Volunteers have not been great on defense giving up 413 yards (78th in NCAA) and 26.8 points (74th in NCAA) per game. Now obviously the offensive turnovers have contributed to those inflated numbers but still the Vols have not performed extremely well on defense. Georgia on the other hand sports one of the dangerous and most balanced offenses in the country. The Bulldogs have averaged 360 (9th in NCAA) yards per game behind the arm of Aaron Murray and rushed for 213 yards (39th) mainly behind the sensational talent of running back Todd Gurley.
Murray especially has had a great year tossing 11 touchdowns with just 3 picks and a 68.3 completion percentage. Gurley like Murray is also one of the best in the nation at his position. The sophomore running back has racked up 450 yards and 4 touchdowns already this season. Murray has a natural habit of eating up 5-6 yards per carry and getting a lot of attention from opposing defenses. However when defenses have stacked the box to stop the run, Murray has connected with big plays down the field. That type of balance has made Georgia's offense unstoppable this season.
Still to those that may be thinking Georgia is a lock this Saturday, the Bulldogs have struggled heavily on the defensive side of the ball. The Bulldogs gave up 38 points in the opening loss to Clemson along with 71 points combined in the wins over South Carolina and LSU. Not only has the defense given up big numbers but Gurley is listed day to day with an ankle injury which would be a huge blow to the Bulldogs offense if he is unable to go this Saturday and just perhaps opens the door a little more for Tennessee come up with a big upset.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This line is suspiciously low with the Bulldogs favored just 10.5 points. Of course road favorites in the SEC have not historically been friendly to bettors; I still think Georgia's dynamic offense (even with backup running back Keith Marshall) will be way too much for Tennessee to handle. Take the Bulldogs laying the points!
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