No. 9 Auburn Tigers (7-2 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. No. 16 Georgia Bulldogs (7-2 SU, 5-4 ATS)
College Football Week 12
Date and Time: Saturday November 15th, 2014. 7:15PM EST
Where: Sanford Stadium Athens, G.A.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: AUB +2.5/UGA -2.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
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The Auburn Tigers suffered a heartbreaking loss last week to Texas A&M that ended their bid towards a National Championship. The loss itself may not be as bad as the way the game was lost considering the Tigers fumbled the ball away on each of their final two drives deep inside Aggies territory. However, Auburn must regroup this week to make the best out of the remainder of the season and they will face a tough challenge this Saturday in a road trip between the hedges against the no. 16 Georgia Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs, also 7-2 SU, are still alive in the SEC East but cannot afford any more losses. In fact, this game likely has a lot more riding on the line for the Bulldogs than it does for Auburn considering the circumstances. One thing that is certain is this game will feature a ton of offensive talent. The Tigers are averaging 38.4 points per game which is the 14th best scoring mark in the FBS. Georgia has been even better averaging 43 points per game as the 7th best unit in the FBS.
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Both offenses have more similarities in the way they operate and put heavy focus on their rushing attacks. Georgia sports the 15th best rushing attack in the country averaging 253 yards per game on the ground while Auburn has the 7th best rushing unit in the country averaging 286 yards per game. Perhaps the biggest difference between the offenses is how each runs the football. Georgia partakes in a pro-style set in a power rushing attack behind the tremendous talents of Nick Chubb and Todd Gurley. Gurley will return this week after a 4 game suspension. Gurley was arguably easily leading the Heisman Trophy race before his suspension so it will give the Bulldogs a big boost in the backfield.
However, Gurleys replacement in tailback Nick Chubb has proven to be one of the best young talents in America. Chubb has rushed for a minimum of 140 yards in each of his starts since Gurleys absence and has earned the opportunity to continue to get touches even with Gurley returning to the lineup. Either way Georgia will lineup on offense with lead blockers and try to run the football in a smash mouth approach. Auburn on the other hand is a bit more finesse on offense in the option-read with quarterback Nick Marshall and tailback Cameron Artis-Payne. Artis-Payne leads the SEC with 1,190 yards on the ground and together with Marshall the two have combined for 20 rushing touchdowns this year.
Neither defense from Georgia or Auburn has been very impressive this season. Therefore it would not be surprising to see both offenses continue to have success running the football and possibly score frequently. Despite the fact neither defense has impressed this season, this game may likely come down to the play of the defense and the unit that can just get a few stops. Auburns offense appears to be more flexible in the passing game. Marshall has tossed 14 touchdowns with just 4 picks on the season and has continued to improve with his arm throughout the season. For that reason, I have to give Auburns offense the advantage in this game. However games are not always won by the best team which was obvious last week in Auburns loss to Texas A&M. Georgia has a lot to play for and it really helps they will be between the hedges where they have won 25 of their last 26 games as a home favorite.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think the situational circumstances will be hard to ignore this week. Consider the fact Auburn has to pick their selves up after their aspirations of a National Championship ended, while Georgia has everything on the line with this being their final game in SEC competition. With those factors in mind and the fact this game is in Athens, I like the Bulldogs to win this game. Take Georgia -2.5