With the SEC East title secure, the no. 4 Georgia Bulldogs will try to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive as they wrap up their SEC schedule against the Texas A&M Aggies. Kickoff is at 3:30 EST on Saturday, November 23 at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. The game will be televised nationally on CBS.
According to the Week 13 college football odds, the Bulldogs are favored by 13.5 points at home. There is also an over/under set at 44 points.
The Bulldogs got tested last week when they took on rival Auburn on the road. But Kirby Smart’s team hung on for a 21-14 win to wrap up the SEC crown and remain in the CFP conversation. Georgia has now won four in a row since suffering their only loss of the season and now knows for sure that they will play in the SEC Championship Game.
However, if the Bulldogs want to remain in the top-4, they can’t lose a game. Even an SEC championship might not be enough to get them in the CFP if they lose one of their remaining regular-season games. To keep their national title hopes alive, the Bulldogs need to hold serve this week against Texas A&M.
As for the Aggies, they head to Athens on the heels of a four-game winning streak after a convincing 30-6 win over South Carolina last week. Texas A&M is arguably the most impressive 7-3 team in the country. Their three losses this year have come at the hands of Clemson, Alabama, and Auburn. A&M’s brutal schedule continues with road games against Georgia and LSU the final two weeks of the regular season.
Fortunately, Jimbo Fisher’s team has already locked up a bowl spot, so the pressure is off in that sense. Of course, the Aggies would love to push their way into the top-25 by season’s end, and the best way to do that would be to knock off a top-5 team either this week or next week.
Somehow, this will be the first time that Georgia and Texas A&M have crossed paths as conference foes. The teams last met in the 2009 Independence Bowl, which was several years before Texas A&M joined the SEC. For what it’s worth, Georgia won that game 44-20.
This feels like a trap game for Georgia. The Bulldogs are coming off an emotional rivalry game last week and might have their guard down after clinching the SEC East. That could be a problem against Texas A&M, who is better than any SEC East team Georgia has played this year outside of Florida. The Aggies have quietly come on strong late in the year and were competitive in their earlier losses. That’s enough for me to take a chance on Texas A&M being able to keep this game close and beat the spread.
Admittedly, the Georgia defense is probably the toughest test the A&M offense has faced all season. The Bulldogs have allowed no more than 17 points over a 60-minute game this season. If that’s the ceiling for Texas A&M, it gives the Bulldogs a good chance of covering the spread, as they are averaging 32 points per game. Georgia has also kept three shutouts this year, including two against SEC opponents, so even getting to 17 points against the Bulldogs is no easy task.
However, the Aggies might have one of the more underrated offenses in the conference. They may not have the best offense, but the Aggies do a great job of staying balanced. Freshman running back Isaiah Spiller has taken the reins this year and averaged over six yards per carry in conference play. He’ll be a key figure for A&M in this game.
If the Aggies can have some semblance of a rushing attack, it’ll put quarterback Kellen Mond in a good position. Mond has quality receivers around him and has played some of his best football over the last month. Given the quality defensive teams he’s faced this season, Mond won’t be intimidated by the Georgia defense and should be able to create some explosive plays.
Meanwhile, the Texas A&M defense is the biggest X-factor in this game. Outside of Alabama, the Aggies have held all of their opponents to 30 points or less this season. The key will be slowing down D’Andrew Swift and the Georgia rushing attack. At times, the Aggies have fared well against the run, including a good showing against Clemson earlier in the year.
On the other hand, Texas A&M’s defense has been gashed on the ground on more than one occasion. If the Aggies can force Jacob Fromm and Georgia’s receivers to do the heavy lifting, they should prevent the Bulldogs from dominating the game and building a comfortable lead. But that will require containing the Georgia rushing game.
Ultimately, Georgia should find a way to survive. They’ve played some of their best football since their loss to South Carolina and I don’t expect them to slip-up now. But I do worry that they’ll be a little sluggish after last week’s game and allow the Aggies to hang around. There’s just enough doubt in my mind to keep me from laying down the points. I’ll take my chances with Texas A&M being able to beat the spread and put a scare in the Bulldogs.