Paul Finebaum on why this Florida-Georgia game could put added pressure on Kirby Smart
Georgia is getting ready to play one of its biggest games of the season on Saturday. The No. 5 Bulldogs are facing No. 8 Florida at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville in a huge rivalry matchup with strong implications in the SEC East race.
But Georgia isn’t entering the game with a ton of momentum. It suffered its first loss of the season at Alabama on Oct. 17, then after its bye, it just edged Kentucky, 14-3, on the road last week.
During an appearance on ESPN’s First Take on Wednesday, Paul Finebaum broke down the challenges that the Bulldogs face this week, as well as the pressure the game could put on head coach Kirby Smart.
“This is a precarious game for Georgia,” Finebaum said. “They’ve only lost to Alabama, they led at halftime, got blown out in the second half. They had an uninspiring game last week against Kentucky, only scoring 14 points. And if they lose this game, there are going to be a lot of people who go back into the history books of two years ago and start asking the question to Kirby Smart, ‘How did you let Justin Fields get away?'”
Fields transferred to Ohio State following the 2018 season, his lone year at Georgia, as the Bulldogs opted to keep starting Jake Fromm at quarterback. Fields has gone on to become a Heisman Trophy contender and one of the top quarterbacks in the country for the Buckeyes.
Now, Georgia is having some quarterback troubles. Jamie Newman opted not to play this season. Transfer JT Daniels has been slowed by his ACL recovery. D’Wan Mathis opened the year as the starter, but he struggled, so the Bulldogs turned to Stetson Bennett.
Bennett has now thrown five interceptions over the past two games, and he went just 9-for-13 for 131 yards against Kentucky.
“They’re severely challenged,” Finebaum said. “And as I say that, Florida has one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Kyle Trask. … So this is a very dangerous game for Kirby Smart.”
Georgia and Florida are set to kick off on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.