GEORGIA BULLDOGS VS. GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS
RECORDS: Georgia (10-1) | Georgia Tech (5-5)
RANKINGS: Georgia (#7 CFB Playoff, #5 S&P+) | Georgia Tech (#56 S&P+)
TIME: Noon ET
TV: ABC (Check your local listings)
WATCH ONLINE: WatchESPN
SPREAD: Georgia opened as a 12.5-point fave. The line went down to 11.5/11.
TOTAL: The O/U was set at 53.5. But it went down to 52/51.5.
RECORDS ATS: Georgia (7-4) | Georgia Tech (7-2-1)
CLEAN, OLD FASHIONED HATE
The first-ever meeting between the ‘Dawgs and Yellow Jackets was back on October 25, 1902. It was ... a 0-0 tie.
Georgia has had an overwhelming advantage since 2000. In the 21st century, the Bulldogs lead the series 14-4. There was a seven-game win streak in there from 2001-2007, which stands as their longest win streak in series history. The Yellow Jackets bested them for eight straight years back from 1949-1956.
The game that, of course, snapped the aforementioned 7-game win streak was the comeback victory for the Rambling Wreck in 2008. Of course, that was retribution for 2006, when Georgia snuck up and got ‘em after a TD pass to Mohamed Massaquoi from a freshman QB named Matthew Stafford. Maybe you’ve heard of him.
The latest edition of the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry will see the Yellow Jackets aim to play the role of spoiler. There’s probably nothing more that Tech fans want than to see UGA’s title dreams go up in smoke. If they were able to pick the ‘Dawgs off in Atlanta on Saturday, that’s likely how it would go. Although Georgia would be able to get a Top 10 (and potentially a Top 5) win in the SEC Championship, it would become pretty hard to put them in the CFB Playoff with two losses.
Georgia Tech has been a bit up-and-down this season, and that’s probably putting it mildly. They ripped off a stunner against the Virginia Tech Hokies two weeks ago, but last week, inexplicably lost 43-20 against the Duke Blue Devils in Durham. Their season’s complexion would look a lot different if they flipped the result against the Tennessee Volunteers in the opener. They’d have only lost to aforementioned Duke, Miami-Florida Hurricanes, Clemson Tigers and Virginia Cavaliers. And there’s no shame in losing to the middle two, while UVA is a burgeoning team in the ACC, too.
Such is life while trying to replace Justin Thomas at quarterback. They’ve taken a tremendous step back with Thomas gone, having been ranked 9th in Passing S&P+ and 2nd in Passing IsoPPP a season ago. TaQuon Marshall has taken the reigns, as the junior has 17 rushing TDs and just nine passing TDs. They’re just as explosive, ranking 2nd in Passing IsoPPP again. However, they rank 102nd in S&P+ and 130th in Passing Success Rate. Those numbers won’t play, and probably explains their variability.
Of course, it would probably be a surprise if this game came down to who throws the ball better. Not to get all, “Jake Fromm/Georgia can’t pass,” because they can! But when you have Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and D’Andre Swift, it makes things a lot easier for UGA. Tech’s ground game ranks in the Top 20 in S&P+ and 15 in Success Rate. But the ‘Dawgs have been better. UA ranks 10th in S&P+ and, more importantly, 6th in Rushing IsoPPP. They’ve been known to break off big runs, and it wouldn’t surprise many if they were able to do the same on Saturday afternoon in ATL.
Georgia’s in a bit of do-or-die here, as a loss would absolutely plague them, assuming complete chaos doesn’t intervene. Tech would love playing the spoiler role, but frankly, I don’t know if it happens.
Prediction: Georgia 28, Georgia Tech 16