South Carolina Gamecocks (6-2 SU, 5-2-1 ATS) vs. No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs (8-0 SU, 6-2 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Saturday November 4th, 2017. 3:30PM (ET)
Where: Sanford Stadium Athens, G.A.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SC +24/UGA -24
Over/Under Total: 45.5
Rising powers in the SEC East will collide on Saturday when the South Carolina Gamecocks travel into Athens between the hedges to meet the no. 2 Georgia Bulldogs. This border rivalry previously was scheduled at the beginning of the year as the first conference game for both the Bulldogs and Gamecocks. In recent years, that game has produced early advantage for power in the East. Last year the game was moved to late in the season but it was announced several weeks ago that it will move back to its early September date starting next year to rekindle the importance of this rivalry. South Carolina has got the best of Georgia in recent years but they will be huge underdogs in Athens on Saturday.
Obviously this years Bulldogs team is vastly improved from the group that we have seen in recent years. Currently, Georgia stands with Alabama as the top two teams in college football and it could easily be argued that the Bulldogs have played as well as anyone. The Bulldogs handed Notre Dame their only loss, blew away no. 17 Mississippi State, shut out Tennessee 41-0, and then blew the doors off Florida last week in a 42-7 routing in Jacksonville which ended the Jim McElwain era in Gainesville. In the last 4 weeks alone, Georgia has averaged 45 points per game while allowing just 12 points per game against SEC opponents. No other team besides Alabama has come close to numbers like that in several years.
The reason Georgia has been so successful this season is because all the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. In recent years at the end of Mark Richts tenure and even last year in Kirby Smarts debut season, the Bulldogs were best known for their elite rushing attack led by tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. This season more stars are emerging to help elevate the offense. Quarterback Jake Fromm took over for an injured Jacob Eason and never looked back. Fromm has hit 61% passing for 1,263 yards with 13 touchdowns and 4 picks. Chubb and Michel have produced similar numbers combining for nearly 1,400 yards and 17 touchdowns. Furthermore, freshman DAndre Swift has emerged as another superstar in the backfield with big play potential. Without any debate, Georgia has the most talented backfield in college football.
However the true claim to fame for this Georgia team has been the elevated play of the defense. I guess we should have expected the former Alabama defensive coordinator in Kirby Smart to work his magic on the Bulldogs. After a dismal run in 2016 on defense, the jury was still out if Smart could turn the Bulldogs into a defensive powerhouse. However the verdict has come back since the Bulldogs emerged as the 3rd best unit in the country allowing just 252 yards per game and the 3rd best scoring defense in the FBS allowing just 11.9 points per game. This defense has played remarkable and Smart deserves some consideration for Coach of the Year based on the improvements that have been made.
So how does all of this correlate to this weeks matchup with South Carolina? Well I am a Gamecocks fan and I am going to tell everyone without any doubt that the talent mismatch in this game is significant. South Carolina has surpassed expectations this year but they are still a very young football team. Furthermore, they have been beat up with injuries with key players that have held the team back as well. I think the defense lacks talent and that will show against Georgia. Additionally, I believe South Carolinas offensive line will be a huge concern in this contest as they attempt to protect Jake Bentley. I am hoping for the Gamecocks to find a way to be competitive which they have done a great job at under Muschamp despite lackluster production results on paper. However my head tells me this is a big mismatch which could be magnified with it being in Athens.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take Georgia -24. – Where are you betting this game? Bet it for FREE by taking advantage of a 50% welcome bonus offered to new players at Bovada Sportsbook