Tennessee Volunteers (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date and Time: Saturday, September 27th, 2014. 12:00PM EST
Where: Sanford Stadium Athens, G.A.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UT +17/UGA -17
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The no. 12 Georgia Bulldogs return to SEC action this week when they host the Tennessee Volunteers between the hedges at Sanford Stadium in Athens. The Bulldogs suffered a heart breaking loss to South Carolina in their SEC debut just two weeks ago and now prepare to embark on a 7 game consecutive streak of SEC competition starting this week with the Volunteers. Even with the early loss to South Carolina, the Bulldogs are very much alive in the SEC East but cannot afford any further setbacks if they wish to make to the SEC Championship Game.
The Bulldogs enter this Saturday’s battle with the Vols fresh off a 66-0 rout over Troy last week in a impressive bounce back performance. Despite limiting Heisman hopeful running back Todd Gurley to just 15 carries, Georgia was still able to rack up 367 yards on the ground which was the most ever under head coach Mark Richt. Gurley also still hit the century mark with 100 yards despite not playing the entire 2nd half as well. This week expect another heavy dose of the rushing game from Gurley, Sony Michel, and Nick Chubb who are all averaging over 9 yards per carry.
In fact, the question surrounding this game and how it eventually plays surrounds Tennessee’s ability to stop the run. The Volunteers currently rank 48th in rushing defense but they have yet to play a team with so many extremely talented running backs like Georgia. Tenneesee held a fairly decent Oklahoma team in check on the ground but also gave up 308 passing yards to Trevor Knight in the Volunteers biggest test so far this season against the no. 4 Sooners. The Volunteers defense did not play particularly ‘bad’ in that game but could not get off the field which could also easily be contributed to the turnover issues that plagued the offense throughout that 38-10 loss in Normand.
The Volunteers have to find ways to get off the field this Saturday if they are going to contend or even keep it within the 17 point spread. Offensively, the Volunteers have not posted any staggering numbers ranking 62nd in passing, 98th in rushing, and 80th in scoring averaging 27.3 points per game. While those numbers are not impressive, let’s not forget Georgia still has a vulnerable defensive unit. Despite pitching a shutout to Troy last week, the Bulldogs still gave up 59 points through their first two games against Clemson and South Carolina. Georgia’s defense was a hot topic in 2013 after giving up more than 30 points in 8 of their 12 regular season games which led to a disappointing 8-4 record. So far this season the defense has shown improvement but they have not exactly turned the corner either.
Senior quarterback Justin Worley will get the opportunity to test the field vertically against a rather suspect pass defense this week. Worley has been decent hitting 58% of his passing for 720 yards with 6 touchdowns and 3 picks. However, the senior quarterback has yet to play his best ball. If the Volunteers offense can get a little help from their putrid rushing attack and finally get some production out of Marlin Lane, then Worley has the arm to aggravate this Bulldogs defense once the pass rush wears down. However, Tennessee must get some help from either the running game or hit some early passing plays down the field to fight off that Georgia pass rush. If those things do not happen, it will be a long day for the Volunteers.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Early noon kick-offs often have the potential for an upset but I do not think that is the case this week. I actually believe Georgia jumps on the Volunteers quick this week and never let’s back. Tennessee is not a bad football team but the score of this one may suggest otherwise after this game is over. Expect the Bulldogs to put up a big number and win this game convincingly. Take Georgia -17. And now for the sweet bonus offer that we mentioned above…. “Deposit $100 to $500” and get a DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR 100% matching bonus at one of the web’s best bookmakers: GTBets! If that isn’t enough, they also give you a FREE half point every time you bet your favorite college and pro football teams!