Texas vs. Georgia Sugar Bowl Total Pick
No. 15 Texas Longhorns (9-4 SU, 5-7-1 ATS) vs. No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs (11-2 SU, 8-5 ATS)
Allstate Sugar Bowl Preview
Date/Time: Tuesday January 1st, 2019. 8:45PM (EST)
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta, G.A.
Point Spread:TEX +13/UGA -13
Over/Under Total: 58
For the 2nd straight year, Georgia’s dreams of a National Championship were dashed by a backup quarterback at the hands of Alabama. Last year, it was Tua Tagovailoa that delivered the dramatic comeback win in the National Championship Game. This year it was Jalen Hurts who come in for an injured Tagovailoa to lead the comeback for the Crimson Tide against the Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game. The loss eliminated the Bulldogs hopes of making the College Football Playoffs. Now the Bulldogs will get the consolation prize of getting a somewhat homecoming against the no. 15 Texas Longhorns in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Bulldogs seeking 5th straight Bowl victory
The argument that Georgia is among the 4 best teams in college football is a deserving argument. The Bulldogs proved they are the only team that could stand with Alabama and they have done it two years in a row. Aside from the playoffs argument, you have to admire what Head Coach Kirby Smart has done in Athens. In just his 3rd season, the Bulldogs have been to the SEC Championship in each of the last two years and a year removed from a near National Championship victory. Now Georgia will get the opportunity to extend their impressive run with Smart at the helm. The Bulldogs have been perfect under Smart in 2 previous bowl games (excluding NCG) and will have the opportunity to win their 5th straight bowl game against the Longhorns on New Year’s Day.
Sugar Bowl will be a measuring stick for Texas
Head Coach Tom Herman has shown improvement with the Longhorns in each of his first two seasons; something a Texas coach has failed to do in their first two seasons since Darrell Royal in 1957-1958. Now the Longhorns will get to see just where they are as a program. On paper, Georgia is better on both sides of the ball. The Bulldogs have allowed just 18.5 points per game as one of the top 15 scoring defenses in college football and have also averaged 39.5 points per game as one of the top 15 scoring offenses in college football. Meanwhile, Texas is allowing over 26 points per game (57th in FBS) and has averaged 31 points (48th in FBS) on the offensive side of the football.
Those numbers combined with the overall body of work are the reason the Longhorns are 13 point underdogs against the Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl. It also helps that Georgia will basically be in a home atmosphere in Atlanta which is just 60 plus miles outside of Athens. However, Texas has been in this position in a few games this year, most recently against Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game. The Longhorns have been getting better throughout the year and have found ways to compete in the big games this year. They are the only team to beat Oklahoma this season, they captured a quality win over no. 16 Iowa State, and took no. 13 West Virginia to the brink. Therefore in this heavy underdog match-up against Georgia, perhaps we will get a good gauge of where this Longhorns program stands before they can possibly return as the nation’s elite teams.
Longhorns defense faces biggest challenge against Georgia
The Texas defense has vastly improved under Herman. During 2018, the Longhorns yielded just 135 yards per game on the ground which was the 2nd best mark in the Big 12. In the Big 12 Championship Game, they allowed just 129 yards against Oklahoma’s dynamic offense that was previously averaging 250 yards per game on the ground as one of the best rushing offenses in the country. While the Longhorns have fared well in their challenges this year, Georgia presents a different type of match-up with their ground attack. Whereas most Big 12 offenses spread players out to create space, Georgia will line-up and come straightforward with a power rushing attack. D’Andre Swift, in my opinion, is one of the most underrated tailbacks in college football and is a complete game changer. Swift and Elijah Holyfield are Georgia’s lifeline combining for nearly 2,000 yards on the season. If Texas is going to keep this game competitive, they will have to bottle up the Georgia rushing attack.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:I expect Texas’s defense to perform well in this game. Will it be enough to keep things close? That is the question. I am going to stay away from the side in this game and instead take the under 58 as I say less scoring than expected. Take the under 58!