Texas A&M Aggies (6-6 6-5-1 ATS) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (7-5 4-7 ATS) Independence Stadium Shreveport, LA 5 PM EST Monday December 28, 2009 on ESPN2
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bulldogs -7 / Aggies +7
The Texas A&M Aggies face the Georgia Bulldogs in an Independence Bowl that may be a barnburner. Each team had defensive problems this season, as the Aggies ranked dead last in the Big 12 in both points allowed (32.7 ppg) and yards allowed per game (431.3). Georgia’s lapses on defense cost defensive coordinator Willie Martinez and 3 assistant coaches their job this season. However, Georgia, which is used to having a dominant defense, ranked 30th in the nation while Texas A&M only ranked 107th.
The offense of both teams is what may make this a very exciting game, as Texas A&M ranks 5th in the nation in total yards, 19th in passing yards, 25th in rushing yards, and 14th in points scored. The Aggies high-powered offense coupled with Georgia facing a weak Aggies defense may mean a lot of points will be scored in this game.
The Aggies did not finish the season strong, as they lost 3 of their last 4 games. They were only 3-5 in Big 12 play and the main reason they got off to a 3-0 start was that they played very weak teams. The Aggies played 2 ranked teams this season and lost both games.
The Bulldogs won 3 of their last 4 games including beating BCS Bowl bound Georgia Tech 30-24 in their season finale. Georgia was 1-3 against ranked opponents this season.
In their last game Georgia beat Georgia Tech 30-24 while Texas A&M lost to Texas 49-39.
The main reason that Georgia upset Georgia Tech in the last game was their rushing offense. In the game the Bulldogs rushed for 339 yards and averaged an impressive 7.7 yards per carry. Tech has a rushing offense in the top 5 in the nation, but even though they did have 205 yards and more passing yards they simply could not stop the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs were underdogs in the game by 9 points so they covered the spread and the posted total of 57 was not reached.
In their loss to Texas in their last game the Aggies did put up 39 points, but they could not stop Colt McCoy. McCoy rushed for a career high 175 yards with 1 TD and he passed for 304 yards and 4 TD. The Aggies’ defense allowed the Longhorns to gain 3 yards short of 600 yards for the game. On offense the Aggies were solid with 342 passing yards and they did have 190 rushing yards, but they played no defense and committed 2 turnovers. The Aggies were underdogs by 21 points so they covered the spread and the posted total of 63 was easily surpassed.
Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson (3,217 yds 28 TD) put up sick numbers this season and he will be facing a Bulldogs pass defense that ranks 33rd in the nation. Johnson had 342 yards and 4 TD against Texas and their 3rd ranked defense, so look for him to have a big game.
The Aggies feature 2 backs, Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray, that each had over 750 yards rushing this season and they will be facing a Bulldogs’ rushing defense that ranks 41st in the nation. These guys will have a good game since the Bulldogs may, and should, focus on containing Johnson through the air.
Georgia should have a field day on the weak Aggies’ D, especially QB Joe Cox (2,426 yds 22 TD), and RB’s Washaun Ealey (639 yds 3 TD) and Caleb King (534 yds 5 TD).
The Aggies only have the nation’s 111th ranked pass defense, so look for Cox’s main target WR A.J. Green (47 rec 751 yds 6 TD) to make some big plays down the field. This season Green averaged an impressive 16 yards per reception.
The Aggies ranked 73rd in the nation in sacks allowed (27) and Georgia will get to Johnson a few times in this game and that may be the difference.
Jason’s Pick: I think this game will be a shootout, as both teams will light up the scoreboard. However, I think that Georgia will come up with some big stops on defense while Texas A&M will not. The Bulldogs’ rushing attack will pick up yards and that will also help them eat the clock and keep the dynamic offense of the Aggies on the sidelines. Look for a very exciting and high scoring game, but the Bulldogs will come out on top, as they will win this game and cover the 7-point spread.