Who: Auburn Tigers vs. #5 Georgia Bulldogs
When: 6:00 p.m. C.T. (ESPN2)
Where: Auburn, AL
All-time series record: Auburn leads 54-53-8
Last meeting: Georgia 45, Auburn 7 (2011)
Well, Auburn football seems to be in a sad state of affairs a week after a 42-7 beating of New Mexico State. Everybody’s pointing everywhere concerning a new head coach. It’s pretty much official that Auburn’s coach next year will either be Bob Stoops, Chris Petersen, Jimbo Fisher, Chip Kelly, Jeff Fisher, Charlie Strong, or someone else that is a human being. It’s hard to find truth in such confusion.
Nobody knows if Jay Jacobs will still be around, either. Some say Dr. Gogue supports Jacobs, others say he’s already given up on him. The truth will take its sweet time coming to light.
One thing that’s for sure, though, is that there will be football on the Plains Saturday night. Good football? We’re not sure. But there will be football. The Tigers host the #5 Georgia Bulldogs, whose inexplicable 28-point loss to South Carolina cost them a shot at the national championship. Georgia has still had a good season, as they come to Jordan-Hare Stadium with an 8-1 record. If the Bulldogs beat Auburn, the Dawgs will find themselves in the SEC Championship Game. If Auburn pulls the upset, Florida will be the team to take on likely SEC West champion Alabama.
Here’s a break-down of the 116th meeting in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.
Key for Auburn: Play the best game of the season. Auburn will need its offense, defense and special teams to play will if it wants to stay with a very good Georgia team. The offense must run the ball effectively and the defense will have to be even more aggressive than they were against LSU. Special teams can’t afford to struggle. Missed field goals, poor punts, breakdown on kickoff return coverage and blocking… these kinds of things can’t happen.
Key for Georgia: Play Georgia football. Beating the worst Auburn team of the modern era doesn’t take a convoluted game-plan. All Georgia needs is consistent running from Gurley and Marshall, excellent blocking on the offensive line (which shouldn’t be hard against Auburn’s defensive line), consistent passing from Aaron Murray and a little bit of defense. Georgia’s clearly the better team, so if they execute their gameplan, they shouldn’t be threatened in the second half of this game.
Auburn man to watch: Gene Chizik. This will be Chizik’s last SEC home game at Auburn. For sentimental people, even those who don’t like Chizik, this game will have an “end-of-era” feel to it. That’s not really a bad thing. But with this being a big game at Jordan-Hare at night, and with nothing to lose, keep an eye on Gene Chizik. Auburn’s playcalling and preparation will be the biggest factor against Georgia.
Georgia players to watch: The offensive line. Georgia’s offensive line has really played well this year with the exception of the South Carolina game. Auburn’s defensive line has drastically underperformed this year. In fact, that might be the most disappointing unit on this disappointing team. If Georgia’s o-line plays even slightly well Saturday night, Auburn will be 2-8 for sure.
Auburn vs. Georgia edges:
OK, let’s all agree Georgia leads every single category here. From QB to linemen to coaching to special teams, it’s all Georgia.
Interesting facts: Auburn leads Georgia 54-53-1 all-time. If Georgia wins, they would become the 6th SEC team that Auburn doesn’t lead historically (the others being Alabama, LSU, Vanderbilt, Missouri and Texas A&M)…. This will be the last SEC game at Jordan-Hare Stadium for Gene Chizik. In his four years at Auburn, he is 9-6 in home SEC games (9-3 heading into this season). His overall home record at Auburn is 22-6, including 1-0 against Georgia…. Mark Richt has been very good in road games at Georgia. The Bulldogs have a 40-11 record against teams playing in their home stadium during his tenure…. Auburn is 8-5-8 against Georgia in games decided by three points or fewer, but Georgia is 22-19-8 in games decided by a touchdown or less…. Georgia is 14-10-1 at J0rdan-Hare Stadium. The only other SEC team with a winning record at Jordan-Hare is Texas A&M, who didn’t have that winning record until this season.
Prediction: Many people were satisfied with Auburn’s 42-7 win over New Mexico State. NEWSFLASH: It was New Mexico stinkin’ State. A 1-8 New Mexico stinkin’ State at that. Georgia is better than Auburn in every single way. The crowd will be electric, as it always is for a night SEC game at Jordan-Hare, but this game will be pretty ugly. Georgia earns a spot in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta by pouncing all over the hapless Tigers. That would make Auburn 2-8, 0-7 in the SEC and 2-4 at home. Ouch.
#5 Georgia Bulldogs 41, Auburn Tigers 17
Other SEC predictions:
#1 Alabama 28, #15 Texas A&M 24 (A&M will put a serious scare into Alabama, but despite Manziel’s efforts, Bama wins the West.)
#7 LSU 31, #21 Mississippi State 3 (Mississippi State’s been outscored 76-20 against elite West competition. That won’t get better.)
#8 South Carolina 27, Arkansas 24 (Arkansas will play very good football but Carolina wins in thrilling fashion.)
Ole Miss 31, Vanderbilt 27 (Two good up-and-coming teams will play a great game. I choose the Rebels only because they’re at home.)
Tennessee 35, Missouri 31 (Tennessee wins an SEC game! Now they won’t fire Derek Dooley! No, wait they still will.)
#6 Florida 27, UL-Lafeyette 9 (Of course Florida will win impressively with about 250 total yards. That’s what they do.)
Predictions for other notable games:
#2 Kansas State 34, TCU 27 (TCU’s at home, so they could give the fighting Snyders a scare.)
#3 Oregon 46, California 10 (Oregon will probably lead 40-0 at halftime or something and cruise in the second half.)
#14 Stanford 7, #11 Oregon State 3 (These are two strong defensive teams. I’ll take the Cardinal in a 7-3 slugfest.)
#9 Louisville 41, Syracuse 30 (The Orange can challenge the Cardinals, but Louisville is money in close games.)
#4 Notre Dame 26, Boston College 13 (The fact that this is a primetime game on ABC is disturbing.)
Upset Alert: Iowa State 31, #17 Texas 24 (It would be like Mack Brown to lose this game.)
There are brighter days ahead, Auburn fans. Hopefully Auburn brings in a good coach next season, because the staff right now is as good as gone.