Coming off a big win over Florida last week, the no. 6 Georgia Bulldogs will try to get one step closer to the SEC Championship Game this week when they face the Missouri Tigers. The game will kick off at 7:00 EST on Saturday, November 9 at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. Fans can watch the game on ESPN.
Oddsmakers list the Bulldogs as 17-point home favorites with an over/under of 47 points. Click here to check out the betting line for every Week 11 college football game.
With their win over Florida last week, the Bulldogs are in the driver’s seat inside the SEC East. The upset loss to South Carolina is far in the rearview mirror and Georgia knows that they’re on track to play in the SEC Championship Game for the third straight year. If the Bulldogs can win out and win the SEC title game, they should be a lock for the College Football Playoff.
That being said, Georgia’s schedule the rest of the way is by no means easy. After hosting Missouri, the Bulldogs still have to face Auburn and Texas A&M. If Georgia wins this week, they could absorb a loss in one of those two games and still win the SEC East. However, the team’s CFP hopes hinge on having one loss at the end of the season.
Missouri, meanwhile, heads to Georgia on the heels of back-to-back losses to Vanderbilt and Kentucky. While both games were on the road, the Tigers were also favored in both games. The silver lining is that Missouri still controls their own destiny inside the SEC East. They can overtake Georgia inside the East with a win this week.
On the other hand, the Tigers have to play both Georgia and Florida in consecutive weeks. Missouri also needs at least one more win to secure a bowl bid. If the Tigers continue to flounder late in the season, they could be scrambling the last couple of weeks of the season to get to six wins and qualify for a bowl.
The Tigers should also be concerned about their lack of success against Georgia since joining the SEC in 2012. Missouri has just one win over the Bulldogs and it came in 2013. Georgia has won five straight against Missouri, including a 53-28 win in Athens two years ago and a comfortable 43-29 win when these teams met last year.
As mentioned, Georgia has bounced back nicely from their loss to South Carolina, and with the pressure on, the Bulldogs know they can’t take anyone lightly. At the same time, the Tigers were terrible in their last game and have been dreadful on the road all season. For me, all of that adds up to a lopsided win for Georgia. I’ll eat the points and take the Bulldogs to cover 17 points.
The offense appears to be Missouri’s biggest problem right now. The Tigers have managed just 21 total points over their last two games. After beating up on bad defensive teams early in the season, the Mizzou offense has come back to earth recently. Vanderbilt and Kentucky aren’t even among the top defensive teams in the SEC. To make matters worse, quarterback Kelly Bryant left the game against Kentucky with a strained hamstring. He should be fine to play with an extra week to recover. But the Tigers need him to be mobile, so if he’s less than 100%, the Missouri offense will suffer.
On top of everything else, Missouri has to face the Georgia defense this week. The Bulldogs are surely among the elite defensive teams in the SEC this year, allowing less than 12 points per game. Georgia has dominated teams at the line of scrimmage all season. While South Carolina had some success running the ball, both Florida and Notre Dame saw their rushing attacks stifled against the Bulldogs. That doesn’t bode well for Missouri’s chances of establishing a ground game this weekend.
To be fair, the Missouri defense is only giving up 18 points per game. They were a big reason why the Tigers were able to win five in a row early in the year. But the Missouri defense has had a few bad games as well, specifically when it comes to defending the run. The Tigers were gashed on the ground against Wyoming in their season opener and also had similar problems against the likes of Ole Miss and Kentucky.
Missouri will have almost no chance in this game if they can’t put up some resistance against Georgia’s rushing attack. D’Andre Swift is averaging better than six yards per carry on the season. Even on a slow day against Florida last week, Swift ran for 86 yards on 25 carries. Once the Bulldogs get the running game going, Jake Fromm becomes a threat with play-action and can take shots down the field, potentially leading to some quick scores.
To be honest, I don’t see the Tigers have much success on either side of the ball. Offensively, they haven’t done much against average defenses, so I’d be surprised to see Missouri manage much more than 10 points against Georgia. Even if the Georgia offense has an average performance, they should have enough firepower to cover the 17-point spread.