When No. 3 Georgia plays host to No. 14 Tennessee in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week on Saturday it will be a battle between two teams hoping to win the SEC East. The Bulldogs are the heavy favorite in this matchup — and deservedly so, coming into the game having beaten previously top-10 ranked Auburn 27-6 last weekend.
The Georgia offense has yet to hit maximum overdrive like some fans were hoping it would this offseason when Todd Monken was brought in as offensive coordinator with the idea of making it a more explosive unit. Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the offense in Athens. Still, the Dawgs defense has proven to be one of the best in the country, smothering both Auburn and Arkansas through two games.
It will be up against a confident Tennessee squad on Saturday, however. Tennessee enters the game having won eight straight. That’s tied for the second-longest active win streak in the nation and the longest the Vols have put together since winning 11 straight over the 2015-16 seasons. Of course, skeptics will point out that those eight wins have come against South Carolina (twice), Missouri (twice), Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Indiana and UAB. The Vols have yet to knock off a team expected to compete for an SEC title.
Georgia: Have the Dawgs found their quarterback? Stetson Bennett replaced D’Wan Mathis during Georgia’s season-opener against Arkansas, but most believed he was only a placeholder until transfer J.T. Daniels was ready. Then, Bennett started against Auburn and completed 17 of his 28 passes for 240 yards and a score. Leading the team to a win over a rival is a great way to keep the job, though Bennett did get plenty of help from running back Zamir White, who set a career-high in carries with 19 and finished with 88 yards rushing and two scores. Now a Georgia offense that looked a bit shaky seems to have found a rhythm. When paired with an elite defense, this is a team that can do a lot of damage. However, the Bulldogs mustn’t overlook Tennessee this week as Alabama looms on the schedule next week.
Tennessee vs Georgia
Tennessee: The 2020 season is certainly off to a better start for Tennessee than at this point in 2019, and the Vols have an eight-game winning streak going, but none of it will mean much if Georgia blows them out. Georgia hasn’t just won the previous three meetings — it’s done so by an average of 32 points. If the Vols want to get where they want to be — the top of the division and playing for SEC titles — Georgia is one of the teams they need to get through first. Wins over South Carolina and Missouri are nice, but they should be the expectation. Beating Georgia should be the goal, and to do so, they’ll have to find a way to run the ball with Eric Gray against a terrific defense.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 10 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Sanford Stadium — Athens, Georgia
TV: CBS | Live stream: Watch Here
Game prediction, picks
Odds via William Hill Sportsbook
As mentioned earlier, Georgia has crushed Tennessee in recent years, but this Vols team is the best one Jeremy Pruitt has had during his three seasons. Now, that doesn’t mean I think it’s good enough to beat Georgia, but it should hang within this number. Bennett looked solid last week, but he’s not a game-changer at the QB position. Meanwhile, Georgia’s defense was able to decimate a bad Auburn offensive line. This Tennessee offensive line is much stronger than the one they faced last week and will provide more resistance. Georgia wins, but Tennessee does enough to stick around and cover. Pick: Tennessee (+12.5)
Last five meetings (Georgia leads series 24-23-2)
2019: Georgia 43, Tennessee 14
2018: Georgia 38, Tennessee 12
2017: Georgia 41, Tennessee 0
2016: Tennessee 34, Georgia 31
2015: Tennessee 38, Georgia 31
For the first time since 1998, Tennessee football will face the Georgia Bulldogs with both teams undefeated. The two schools face off with both teams in the top 25 for the first time since 2016 and with both teams in the top 15 for the first time since 2006.
UT, ranked No. 14 in the AP Poll and No. 12 in the Coaches Poll, visits the No. 3 ranked UGA Dawgs in a crucial SEC East matchup. With both teams at 2-0 and coming off blowout wins, this showdown will have major implications going forward.
Last week, Tennessee football blew out the Missouri Tigers 35-12. The Georgia Bulldogs, meanwhile, had a critical top 10 win over the Auburn Tigers, winning in a 27-6 blowout. Here is all the information you need for this game.
With a three-game winning streak over the Vols, Georgia took the all-time series lead by one game after a 43-14 blowout win last year in Knoxville. Jeremy Pruitt has yet to beat his former coworker, Kirby Smart. The two were assistants to Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide from 2007 to 2012.
Despite Georgia being a heavy favorite, UT has beaten the Dawgs each of three last two times both teams faced off ranked in Athens, in 2016, 2006 and 2004. There are plenty historical factors that favor Big Orange Country.
However, so far this year, very few teams have proven what Georgia has. Both of their first two opponents, Auburn and the Arkansas Razorbacks, are 1-1, their only losses coming to UGA. Meanwhile, the Vols’ first two opponents, Mizzou and the South Carolina Gamecocks, the latter of whom they beat 31-27 in the opener, remain winless on the season.
As a result, this is a statement game for Tennessee football. Pruitt’s team is on an eight-game winning streak dating back to last year, tied for the longest in the nation. However, they haven’t beaten a top 25 team during that run. Doing that in this game would do wonders for the program.