Kentucky Wildcats (6-4, 5-4 ATS) at Georgia Bulldogs (6-4, 3-6 ATS)
Sanford Stadium Athens, G.A. Saturday November 21st, 7:45PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Kentucky +7.5/Georgia -7.5
The Kentucky Wildcats were in jeopardy of experiencing one of the worse records since the 2005 season, but have recently went on a solid run winning 4 of the last 5 games. The Wildcats most recent victory comes over Vanderbilt last week 24-13. Kentucky now has the chance to pull off an 8 or even 9 win season since they are now bowl eligible. However, they will have a tough match-up this weekend as they go between the hedges in Athens to take on the Georgia Bulldogs. The Bulldogs captured a tough home victory over Auburn last week battling back from a 14-0 1st quarter deficit to win 31-24. However, the Bulldogs 6-4 record is not the type of season they had in mind. Georgia now will attempt to capture at least one more victory before their heavily anticipated rivalry meeting with no. 7 Georgia Tech in two weeks.
The Bulldogs defeated Kentucky last year in a thrilling 42-38 shootout and both teams will have the opportunity to score a bunch of points again this weekend. The Bulldogs have relinquished 214 yards on average through the air this season ranking next to last in the SEC and the defense has also allowed 26 points per game which also ranks next to last in the conference. One reason those numbers stick out for the Wildcats is because QB Mike Hartline is expected to return as the starter this week. Hartline was injured in the South Carolina game with a knee injury and missed nearly 5 full games. Hartline was completing just 60% with 6 scores and 7 picks before the injury, but he still gives Kentucky the best chance in the passing game. With Hartline returning, Kentucky will have the chance to attack the weak Georgia pass defense.
WR Randall Cobb is a big playmaker at the wide receiver position. Cobb is used more as a utility type player getting opportunities both running and catching the football. Cobb has almost 800 all-purpose yards this season and it is extremely important that he gets the chance to make things happen this Saturday. Tailback Derrick Locke is also a solid threat on the ground. Locke has posted 5 yards per carry for 741 total yards this season on the ground. Locke is coming off his biggest performance of the year carrying the ball 25 times for 144 yards and a touchdown. The Bulldogs rush defense is pretty solid up front meaning Locke will have a tough time repeating those numbers. However if Locke can at least take some pressure off the passing game, perhaps the Wildcats can used a more balanced approach in attacking the Georgia defense.
On the Bulldogs side of the field, the offense has experienced hot and cold symptoms all season. Georgia either racks up a ton of points, or struggles to get in the end zone at all as they have in most of their losses. The Bulldogs are averaging just less than 40 points per game in their 6 wins this year, but are averaging just 11.8 points in their 5 losses. The question is which offense will show up this weekend? One solid trend on the season is that when WR A.J. Green catches a touchdown pass the Bulldogs are 5-1 on the season.
Green has been labeled the best wide receiver in the SEC by numerous coaches around the league, and he has put up solid numbers racking up 751 yards and 6 touchdowns. Green has averaged 16 yards per catch and he will be a guy that poses a mismatch for everyone in the Kentucky secondary. QB Joe Cox must take advantage of these mismatches and get the ball in his hands. Cox has been the epitome of inconsistency this season throwing 18 touchdowns with 12 interceptions on the year. Cox is one of those rhythm quarterbacks that Georgia needs to get hot. Of course the Wildcats defense could change all that by forcing an interception or two, but the Bulldogs are at their best when Cox is delivering because the running game has not been a factor all year.
Jay’s Pick – Kentucky +7.5.