Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, September 6, 2013 at 7:00 AM
There are prominent teams in college football this year who won’t play a meaningful opponent in the first month of action. The Georgia Bulldogs, who had dreams of competing for the national championship after playing such a great game against Alabama last year, are now starting a possible 0-2 start in the face because they scheduled tough.
*Last week: at Clemson, who’s jumped to #4 in the rankings
*This week: vs. South Carolina, who’s currently #6 in the rankings
Worse, Georgia suffered some injuries last week that will impact the team through the entire season. And, now they’re physically drained heading into what could be their most important divisional game in the SEC East of the entire season. Lose this one…and you lose the tiebreaker with South Carolina if both teams end with the same record.
It’s November in September for the Georgia Bulldogs!
South Carolina/Georgia is the game of the day in college football, set for a 4:30 p.m. ET national telecast Saturday afternoon on ESPN. Let’s crunch some numbers to see how things might play out…
Last Week’s Results
Georgia (-1.5) lost to Clemson 38-35
S. Carolina (-11) beat North Carolina 27-10
You probably watched both games on TV. Will it matter that South Carolina enjoyed extra rest and preparation time off their Thursday Night victory? Georgia not only wrapped up late Saturday Night…but that was a ROAD game, which took a few more hours off their recovery.
Last Week’s Yardage
Georgia won total yardage 544-467, and rushing yardage 221-197. Lost turnovers 2-1
S. Carolina won total yardage 400-299, and rushing yardage 222-105.
It’s important for handicappers to note that Georgia won stats at Clemson. They lost the scoreboard battle…but they weren’t outplayed. If you can go on the ROAD and gain 544 yards against a top 10 caliber team…then you can beat anybody anywhere. Don’t assume Georgia falls apart. There’s a lot of talent here. For South Carolina, the numbers confirm their dominance of North Carolina…who’s a weaker opponent than Clemson.
Georgia: 12-2 (Beat Nebraska 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl)
S. Carolina: 11-2 (beat Michigan 33-28 in the Outback Bowl)
Both were elite teams last year. Georgia won the division…and scared the heck out of Alabama in the SEC Championship game. South Carolina won the year before, but DIDN’T managed to do that. There are enough similarities between this year’s teams and those recent entries that you should keep that in mind. Head coaches Mark Richt and Steve Spurrier build certain styles of teams with certain types of athletes. Successful programs in the nation’s toughest conference.
Georgia: 22 in total offense (30 in passing, 43 in rushing)
S. Carolina: 82 in total offense (57 in passing, 89 in rushing)
Huge difference here. Georgia had playmakers last year, and still has them though they lost one to a season-ending injury last week. A hidden factor may be Georgia’s superiority in the air. If Georgia falls behind, they can play catch up at home very easily. If South Carolina falls behind, it will be tougher to pull off for their less potent attack in a road environment.
Georgia: 32 in total defense (8 in passing, 77 in rushing)
S. Carolina: 11 in total defense (21 in passing, 17 in rushing)
South Carolina had the better defense last year, and probably will this year as long as Jadeveon Clowney can stay healthy and get in better shape.
Returning Starters (Projected Quarterback)
Georgia: 8 on offense, 3 on defense (Aaron Murray)
S. Carolina: 6 on offense, 5 on defense (Connor Shaw)
That lack of experience on defense for Georgia hurt last week…and could loom large here. Maybe South Carolina can play catch up!
Wow…this is really shaping up as something special. Let’s see what the markets say…
Current Vegas Line: Georgia by 3, total of 56
Home field advantage is worth three points in college football, possibly more at the toughest SEC sites. So, that widely available line is telling you the market sees these teams as dead even. Or…better put…the extra days South Carolina had to get ready are an equalizer that help cancel out 1-2 points of talent advantages for the host Bulldogs.
JIM HURLEY will release this game to his clients if there’s an edge. But, he knows there’s no reason to play a TV lean if you have BEST BETS all over the card. Be sure you sign up for the college football ticket Saturday morning before the first games kick off (that’s after building your bankroll Friday Night with Wake Forest/Boston College!). If you have any questions about service, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.
Back with you tomorrow to discuss the much anticipated “end of a rivalry” battle between Notre Dame and Michigan that will be nationally televised in prime time on ABC. After that, it’s Sunday Night and Monday Night NFL getting showcase coverage on these pages through the weekend.
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