10 bold predictions for Auburn-Georgia II in the SEC title game
What could be better than a slate full of games to make wild predictions on? How about one game? Because this week, we’re going bold on the SEC title game. Here are 10 bold predictions for Auburn-UGA Part II in Atlanta on Saturday.
RELATED: Auburn-Georgia predictions
1) This won’t be a 23-point game.
Georgia hadn’t been up against adversity before first meeting. So when Auburn started landing body blows, there was an element of panic. There won’t be this time.
2) Kerryon will play.
Dude didn’t come this far to miss the biggest game of his career. He’ll be bandaged, duct-taped and might do the walk-through in a roll of bubble wrap, but come game time, he’ll be out there running hard.
3) Even with Kerryon, Auburn’s going to throw.
Gus Malzahn learned his lesson in the Clemson and LSU games. For Auburn to win tough games, both facets of its offense have to be moving. The passing stats from Auburn’s two losses: 22-for-50, 244 yards. But this isn’t the Auburn offense of the first half of the year — Jarret Stidham will pass for over 200 yards.
4) Georgia won’t throw — much.
On the other hand, post-Auburn, Georgia had two blowout games and threw the ball 14 and 17 times. Maybe they’re saving something. Or maybe Kirby is going to the Saban plan of winning with rushing and defense. Says here that Jake Fromm going to the air more than 20 times is a bad sign.
5) UGA gets tricky, and rushes for 150.
Much of UGA’s offensive success has been in spite of — not because of — its incredible predictability. The Bulldogs run the same half dozen plays out of a dozen formations, and they have success. But not against Auburn. Having 32 rushing attempts net 46 yards tells a different story. Georgia will use different personnel, they’ll run some misdirection, they’ll use some end-around stuff that Auburn runs. It won’t be the same old, same old, and it’ll surprise the Tigers.
6) UGA goes on top early.
Call it the Iron Bowl hangover effect, call it figuring out how much and how they can use Kerryon Johnson. But the Tigers won’t be at their sharpest early in the game.
7) Auburn answers with the pass.
People can throw on UGA. The Bulldogs gave up four scores by air to Missouri, 227 yards to South Carolina, 210 to Notre Dame. Give Jarrett Stidham time, and you end up with some big plays. Halftime situation won’t be unlike last time around, when Auburn led 16-7 after UGA scored first.
8) This time, Georgia fights back by staying on the field.
UGA is going to run the ball much more and much better than last time. You’re not going to see SIX three-and-outs like in the last Auburn game. They Bulldogs will mix in the occasional play-action pass to Nauta or Wims, and eat up the second-half clock.
9) The player of the game is Roquan Smith.
Georgia’s defense is not going to get mauled for 24 second-half points again. And the key to that is Smith, who is one of the most underrated players in the country. All he does is make plays, in the backfield, in pass coverage, in run support. Smith will be swarming around the ball and will be part of a play that turns the game. …
10) The underdog nabs it.
Georgia holds off Auburn late, and punches their CFP ticket. Looks like a 27-24 kind of game. Auburn’s offense will be just uncomfortable enough to not pull this out. Speaking of uncomfortable, UGA is delighted to be in the CFP until it realizes it’ll draw the Mark Richt-led Miami Hurricanes, who knock off Clemson. Why not?