The Georgia Bulldogs will make their second trip to the Georgia Dome, but this time around, the SEC title is on the line, as they must battle the No. 1 LSU Tigers.
After starting 0-2, the Bulldogs have reeled off 10 straight wins, which is impressive for any team, no matter who they’re playing against.
The Tigers have cruised through their rigorous schedule, proving they are the best team in the country. They’re a lock for the BCS title game, which means they could be overlooking the Bulldogs this Saturday.
These two teams have met in the SEC Championship Game twice before, with each team winning one game in blowout fashion.
This Saturday has the potential to be a blowout, but with two strong defenses, I just don’t see that happening.
With that said, let’s take a look at some specifics of this SEC showdown.
But first, check out this Aaron Murray interview done by the Athens Banner Herald.
When: Dec. 3 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
The Tigers are favored at -13.5, and even though they have dominated the majority of their opponents, the Bulldogs are not a team to sleep on. Take the points, as Georgia will play well enough to prevent LSU from covering.
The over/under is set at 47, and I like the under here. This will be a defensive battle for all four quarters, and the offenses will take awhile to get things going, as they will be forced to make a number of adjustments.
For LSU, according to USA Today, S Eric Reid (quadriceps) is listed as probable.
For Georgia, according to USA Today, RB Richard Samuel (ankle) is doubtful. OG Dallas Lee (leg), OT Austin Long (ankle) CB Jordan Love (hand) DT DeAngelo Tyson (ankle) and WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring) are all listed as questionable.
RB Isaiah Crowell (ankle) is probable. Running backs have been a problem for the Bulldogs all season long, which prompted this quote from head coach Mark Richt during his weekly press conference. Per AJC UGA Twitter.
BCS/Top 25 Implications
Despite beating a ranked opponent last week, the Bulldogs dropped to No. 14 in the BCS. With a win, Georgia will crash the BCS and play in the Sugar Bowl, but it’s not going to be easy.
The Tigers have been No. 1 in the BCS since the rankings were released in Week 8. Even if they lose on Saturday, there is still a strong chance they play in the BCS National Championship Game because their body of work has been extremely impressive.
Keys to Georgia Win
The Bulldogs have to play well on offense, which is certainly no easy task. LSU has arguably the best defense in the country, and they’re capable of making big plays at a moments notice.
Aaron Murray will have to play the game of his life if the Bulldogs want to win, making sure he protects the ball at all times. If Crowell is healthy enough to play, then he too must be a force for Georgia because a one-dimensional offense will not be able to take down the mighty Tigers.
Another area that Georgia has to excel as is special teams. At times this year, the Bulldogs have been very weak in the return game, and if they’re unable to stop Tyrann Mathieu on punt returns, it will be a long night for Georgia.
Keys to LSU Win
The Tigers lead the nation in turnover margin, and they’ll need to force Georgia to make mistakes to increase their chances of winning. The defense is going to play well all night, but if Jordan Jefferson and the offense falter then, the Bulldogs can easily pull ahead.
Playing smart football will be key for the Tigers, as well as getting after Murray. He hasn’t been flustered in weeks, but a ton of pressure could make life very difficult for the Georgia offense.
Mathieu has to find a way to get his hands on the ball, because when that happens, it's a huge swing of momentum for LSU.
Saturday will be a hard-fought contest throughout the game, as both defenses will not budge in the early going. However, the offense will break through in the second half to liven up the atmosphere.
In the end, the LSU defense will prevail like it has all season long. Georgia will put up a valiant effort, but they won't shock the world because the Tigers will not let their perfect season be ruined.
Tigers 27, Bulldogs 20