No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. No. 25 Georgia Bulldogs (3-1 SU, 1-3 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday, October 1st, 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Sanford Stadium Athens, G.A.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TENN -3/UGA +3
Over/Under Total: TBA
In the season opener, Tennessees preseason expectations of returning to a national power took a hit when they narrowly beat Appalachian State. Then last week those hopes were nearly forgotten again as they trailed no. 19 Florida 21-3 at halftime in the midst of a 12 year drought at the hands of the Gators. Then Tennessee put together 30 minutes of football that many have expected all season by rallying back to outscore the Gators 35-7 in the 2nd half in a resilient and gratifying victory for the Volunteers. Now Tennessee has some of the swag and confidence back that boosted those lofty expectations going into the season. This week the 11th ranked Volunteers will try to build off last weeks 2nd half performance when they go between the hedges into Athens for a showdown with the no. 25 Georgia Bulldogs.
Though Tennessee has been resilient this season, these next 3 weeks will likely define just how far this team goes in 2016. The Volunteers go on the road to Georgia this Saturday, follow that up with a road trip to no. 9 Texas A&M, and then complete the 3 game swing with a home stand against no. 1 Alabama in Knoxville. The question that most have is which Tennessee team can we expect during this 3 game stretch that starts with Georgia on Saturday? Will we see the team that struggled with Appalachian State and looked lost in the 1st half to Florida? Or perhaps we will see the team that took it to Virginia Tech and then ignited against a tough Florida defense during the 2nd half last week? The answer to that question could be a drastic as going 0-3 over next 3 weeks or going 3-0!
I believe the answer to that question starts and stops with quarterback Joshua Dobbs. Dobbs got off to a slow start last week against Florida but caught fire in the 2nd half. By the end of the game, he finished with a 319 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 picks stat line. WR Josh Malone caught a touchdown in his 4th straight game this season and they even got Jalen Hurd going a bit when the offense caught fire. Therefore, it goes to show that Dobbs holds the key to this Tennessee offense and they are extremely tough to beat when they get in rhythm. This week Dobbs will get the opportunity to take aim at a Georgia defense that was torched by Chad Kelly and the Ole Miss offense last week.
The Bulldogs gave up 330 yards through the air and over 500 yards in total to Ole Miss last week in an embarrassing 45-14 loss. The loss was one of the worst in recent memory for Georgia fans and did not shed anything positive on Coach Kirby Smart in his first big game. Luckily for Georgia, this business of college football does not carry over from week to week. Therefore, Georgia could eliminate a lot of concerns and rebuild their prominence with a bounce back victory over the Volunteers on Saturday.
Last weeks big loss to Ole Miss may have surprised some but it was really not that shocking. The Bulldogs had skated by two scares to the likes of Nicholls and Missouri in the two weeks before the blowout loss to the Rebels. Georgia won both of those games by less than a field goal and it has been fairly obvious that they have been struggling. Georgias defense has not been very strong for a few years now and I think that is some of the problem that Coach Smart is facing now. Despite his big defensive reputation from his days as Alabamas defensive coordinator, Georgia just does not have enough talent on defense at the moment.
Therefore while Georgias defense will be a work in progress, they will have to get the best out of their offense in the interim. Running back Nick Chubb is one of the best rushers in college football and Georgia has a healthy stable of running backs that can rotate to keep fresh legs on the field. Tennessee has been decent against the run but I believe they are vulnerable as well. Therefore, I expect Chubb to be a work horse on Saturday. If the offense can get some help from quarterback Jacob Eason, it will help their chances tremendously.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: A lot of people are expecting this game to be a high scoring game as both offenses have a good reputation. However, I think big plays will be limited and this will be a hard fought game on both sides of the ball. Expect a much lower scoring game to be the outcome. Take the under no matter what total is released!
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