College Game Of The Week – By Ace Vetrano
#1 Georgia @ #11 Auburn
Line: Georgia -2.5
Opposed to the first two games written in this column, this game is not flying under the radar. This game dominates the 3:30 timeslot Saturday, and is expected to have an enormous handle. Before the season, Auburn opened at -3 in this game. The line has now virtually flipped, with the consensus being anywhere from UGA -2 to -3. You will read below in the all new futures section of the newsletter my feelings on this Georgia team, but the teaser is I believe in them to run the table. That starts this week on the Plains in “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.”
As a handicapper, I search for “good spots” and “bad spots” for teams. I tend to lean more on that than some stats, expecting those stats to be flawed depending on the matchup. As we get to November however, those styles tend to mesh, or even flip. No team with a shot at the CFP should be exposed to a bad spot. Georgia will be ready for this game, and they have been the same team all season. They have arguably the best run game in the entire country led by veteran talent in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, complemented by a young stable of five star recruits. They an elite and veteran defense that ranks top 10 nationally across the board. Then, they have true Freshman QB Jake Fromm, who while young, has proven to be mature beyond his years. He is also much more talented than critics give him credit for. Just because the offense doesn’t run through him, does not mean he can not make the throws. He has made all the throws needed all year. If you had that run game, and that defense, you wouldn’t throw it 50 times a game either.
So we know who Georgia is, but who is Auburn? A lot of sharps are on them this week, but I think it is for the wrong reason. All I have heard all week is how Auburn is the only two loss team with a shot at the CFP. The reason for that is they have #1 UGA this week, #2 Bama in the Iron Bowl Thanksgiving weekend, and then if they win both of those, a potential rematch with Georgia in the SEC Championship. That would be three top five wins in a span of four weeks. I expect them to win zero of those. Georgia and Alabama are the two best teams in the country. That is unquestioned to this point. What has Auburn done to deserve that credit? Is it all just to create conversation about the CFP, or are we taking into account the fact that their only “good” win this year was Mississippi State at home. Yes, Auburn has good defensive numbers, ranking 9th in the country in PPG allowed. They also have an intriguing QB in Jarret Stidham, a Baylor transfer. I have to ask though, if we can’t stop talking about Auburn going 11-2 and winning the SEC on their way to claiming a playoff spot, why can’t we talk about them going 8-4? I just have not seen anything from Auburn so far that changes my opinion on them from before the year. Vegas had their win total listed at 8.5 before the season. They lost to Clemson, lost to LSU, and have beaten all the teams they were supposed to beat. Until that changes, I am going to ride with the team I know more about. I feel almost guilty backing two road dogs of approximately three points, the ultimate square play, but oh well. Give me Georgia -2.5.