No. 23 Georgia Bulldogs (1-1, 0-2 ATS) at Arkansas Razorbacks (1-0, 0-0 ATS)
Donald W. Reynolds Razorbacks Stadium, Saturday September 19th, 7:45PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Georgia +1/Arkansas -1
The Georgia Bulldogs head to Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks in an SEC Conference battle this Saturday night. The Bulldogs barely avoided dropping their first two games of the season last weekend with a nail bitter between the hedges over South Carolina. The Bulldogs were beaten by Oklahoma State on opening weekend and then held on to a 41-37 shootout in what was predicted to be a low scoring defensive game against South Carolina.
However, the Bulldogs hope that game was the spark to their offense and they will put that to the test against the Razorbacks defense. Arkansas is a bit of an unknown in the SEC heading into this season. The Razorbacks acquired former Michigan quarterback Ryan Mallet who transferred schools. Mallet led the Razorbacks offense in a big way throwing for 309 yards in their opening 48-10 victory over Missouri State. The star studded quarterback is a big reason Arkansas fans are ready to be the surprise team in the SEC this season.
Arkansas owned a solid offense in 2008 that was responsible for the nation’s 22 best pass offense averaging 259 yards per game. The Razorbacks were successful last year averaging 22 points per game against the strong defenses of the SEC. The offense was not the concern. Still, with Mallet transferring the Razorbacks passing attack got even more dangerous. Arkansas now is a big threat to opposing defenses. The Razorbacks must be eager to get their shot at the Bulldogs since South Carolina was able to be so successful with their passing game against Georgia. With Mallet at the helm, there is no reason to expect the Razorbacks will not have every opportunity to win the game.
Georgia on the other hand maybe receiving a little scrutiny for the way they have looked in the opening two games. However, Bulldogs beat a good team last week and even more importantly put up 41 points against a good defense. Georgia has playmakers all over the field that can play factor against Arkansas. Joe Cox proved he has what it takes behind center leading the Bulldogs to a 70% completion percentage along with 201 yards in last weeks victory. Cox has the ability to lead the offense and that is exactly what the Bulldogs need out of the 5th year senior. WR A.J Green was the difference maker on offense last week for Georgia. Green consistently made big plays at critical points in the game grabbing 6 passes for 86 yards. Green has great size and speed ideal for making big plays. The Razorbacks defense should make it a priority of shutting down the Bulldogs biggest playmaker if they are to pull out the win.
Speaking of the Razorbacks defense, it will be very interesting to see what type of unit they have on the defensive side of the ball. The Razorbacks have yet to be tested against a solid offense and most do not know what to expect. Arkansas ranked dead last in total and scoring defense in 2008. The Razorbacks allowed an unperceivable 31 points per game while allowing 375 yards of total offense. It is safe to say there are legitimate concerns on the defensive side of the ball. Arkansas must be able to turn their wrong deeds on defense around this year if they are to return as contenders in the SEC.
Georgia on the other hand is got to be begging for a big win. The Bulldogs are very talented, but surely Coach Mark Richt has expected more out of his bunch. Another mediocre performance would set Bulldogs fans on fire considering there expectations are through the roof every year. Fortunately, I believe they will get that chance. Georgia has a very quick and talented defense. LB Rennie Curran is an excellent playmaker in the heart of the Bulldogs defense who makes big plays including a game winning deflection on the final play of last week’s victory over South Carolina. Also, Georgia offense appears to have sparked on its 8th cylinder last weekend. If they can continue to make plays with their big wide outs, they have a shot against the Razorbacks. However, the Razorbacks win and cover the point spread.
Jay’s Pick - Arkansas -1