Two months ago, we sat in Sanford Stadium as the clock reached :00 and watched the Dawgs fall to 0-2 on the season. After the deflating loss in the Dome to Boise State, the Dawgs had looked determine to turn things around, but too many mistakes led to another home loss. The media and fans were all over Coach Richt, and even I began to think this may be Coach Richt's final season in Athens. But then a funny thing happened - we woke up.
Call it easy schedule, call it luck, call it whatever you want. But the fact of the matter is that Georgia's magic number (to borrow a term from baseball) to clinch the SEC East is 2. The combination of Georgia victories tomorrow and next week or a victory in one of those games coupled with a South Carolina loss to Florida means the Dawgs head back to Atlanta for the SEC Championship for the first time since 2005. You may say you knew this would happen, but I wouldn't believe you.
The game on Saturday presents a interesting matchup for a Georgia team that has really found its groove the last few weeks. Since allowing 35 and 45 points in the first two games, Georgia has allowed more than 20 points only once. The defenses is in the top 10 in the country and has been especially strong against the run. Auburn will rely heavily on HB Michael Dyer and if Georgia shuts Dyer down, I can see a double digit win for the Dawgs. This game really comes down to a good Auburn offense against a strong Georgia defense. The winner of that battle wins the game.
While some people still think Aaron Murray is struggling, the sophomore quarterback is putting together what could be a record setting season. He leads the SEC in passing efficiency and has found a way to make some big plays despite not having his best stuff(see the Florida game). Having Crowell suspended last week may be a blessing in disguise. Hopefully the two bye weeks he had this month allowed that wrist to heal and hopeful he is ready to carry the ball more than 20 times.
Do I think this game will be one sided, as the 13.5 point spread suggests? Hell no. Have you watched the Georgia - Auburn games over the last 10 years? But, do I think this is a game where one team has a talent and experience advantage over the other? Yes. Auburn won a national championship last fall, but almost everyone of the critical pieces from that team moved on. This is a different Auburn team, one that almost lost to Utah State to open the season. Much like Georgia, their losses are all to highly ranked teams. But unlike Georgia, they now start a freshman quarterback who is starting for only the third time in his career.
Georgia should lead most of the game, but the Tigers will keep it close. The fourth quarter may see Georgia build a lead to around ten and then proceed to run clock like they did against Mississippi State.
Georgia 34, Auburn 24