Back in 2006, the 13th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers stomped on the 10th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs in Knoxville. The 51-33 beatdown stands prominently in the long and storied rivalry between the Dawgs and Vols. It is still the highest point total for the orange and white ever against their adversaries from Athens. And it’s also the last time that the Dawgs and Vols were both ranked in the Top 15 of the AP Poll while facing each other.
That changes on Saturday however. The third-ranked Bulldogs are squaring up with the 14th-ranked Volunteers as these squads renew their rivalry on CBS. It’s the 49th time that the two sides will meet against each other, and historically it’s practically Even Steven. Georgia has won 24 of the previous 48 meetings, with 22 wins going to Tennessee with two ties to boot. Intriguingly enough though: Tennessee has won 10 of 15 games played between the teams when both are ranked.
With regards to history though, this matchup has firmly leaned in favor of the Dawgs. The 21st Century has been owned by UGA, as they’ve won 14 of the 20 matchups, including the last three. And they haven’t been close either. The Bulldogs have scored at least 38 points in the three victories, and have won by 29, 26 and 41 points — the latter being a 41-0 curbstomping back in 2017. Georgia has also won eight of the previous 10 matchups, with the lone wins for Tennessee coming in 2015 and 2016 (hello, Jauan Jennings).
Tennessee is looking a little bit different this year though. While the competition hasn’t been great this year, they’ve played pretty well. Dating back to last season they’ve won eight games in a row and they’ve been outstanding against the run. That’s a matchup that could go in their favor against a feverish rushing attack by the Dawgs. Granted, Georgia has bullied other teams up front this year so far. But the experience factor may be a fascinating one to watch here. Especially because they’ve chalked up less than 4.0 yards per carry through the team’s first two games.
But defense is absolutely the strength for Georgia this year. I mean, this might be the best defense in the country. That’s no exaggeration here. They have been outstanding against the rush and against the pass. They bullied the hell out of the Auburn Tigers last week, who probably have a better offense than Tennessee’s does. Tennessee does have a great offensive line though with loads of experience and talent, especially so with Trey Smith.
What we’re trying to say is that this could be a damn slugfest, and it will likely be won in the trenches. If you like that kind of ball, you’ll want to tune in here.
How to Watch
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Georgia -12.5
Georgia -12.5 feels like a freaking lot. Granted, they did get it going last week against Auburn. But that’s still a lot of points. I’d probably try to stay away here considering I think that this game will definitely be a bit of a rock fight. In which case, the under 43.5 might be the play you make for this game.