Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 9:00 AM
No rest for the weary! After having to deal with powerhouses Clemson, South Carolina, and LSU in their first four games, the #7 Georgia Bulldogs were hoping to get a bit of a breather in the month of October. Unfortunately, injuries at the running back position and teamwide fatigue have put them in a very vulnerable position. They barely survived a mediocre Tennessee team last week. And, they must now face red hot Missouri…who brings an undefeated 5-0 record and a #25 ranking to Athens for an early Saturday start that will be nationally televised by ESPN.
Georgia will have played more big games in half a season than most of college football will play all year! Some high profile teams have barely played anybody yet…while Georgia is stuck in the gauntlet from hell that has them facing tough challenges week after week.
Though, one might be able to make the case that Missouri is one of those ranked teams that’s had it easy. Their toughest opponents were Indiana and Vanderbilt. Though both of those games were on the road…those aren’t exactly world beaters that would put a scare into national championship contenders. It’s possible that Missouri is a pretender that is about to be exposed in their biggest game to date. Let’s run some numbers and see what we can find out.
Missouri (-38) beat Murray State 58-14 (winning yardage 694-297)
Missouri (-14) beat Toledo 38-23 (losing yardage 389-384)
Missouri (-2.5) won at Indiana 45-28 (winning yardage 623-475)
Missouri (-21) beat Arkansas State 41-19 (winning yardage 495-425)
Missouri (-3) won at Vanderbilt 51-28 (winning yardage 523-468)
You can’t really complain about the Indiana and Vandy wins. Missouri was only supposed to win t hose by a field goal, yet managed victories of 17 and 23 points. The team posted huge yardage totals in those games as well…meaning that they weren’t fluke victories driving by turnovers. For now, Missouri is a legitimate Top 25 caliber team that will love this opportunity to score a statement upset.
In terms of the matchup though…Missouri fans have to be concerned about defense. Indiana gained 475 yards in a losing effort. Vandy gained 468. What’s the high octane attack of Georgia going to do, even minus a few running backs, against a defense that soft?
Georgia (-1.2) lost at Clemson 38-35 (winning yardage 544-467)
Georgia (-3) beat South Carolina 41-30 (winning yardage 538-454)
Georgia (-32) beat North Texas 45-21 (winning yardage 641-245)
Georgia (-3) beat LSU 44-41 (winning yardage 494-449)
Georgia (-13) won at Tennessee 34-31 in OT (winning yardage 434-404)
Georgia tops 400 yards when they’re flat…and surged past 500 yards vs. both Clemson and South Carolina. Quarterback Aaron Murray is capable of making big plays through the air that his best running backs can no longer make on the ground because they’re in street clothes. This has a chance to be a real shootout.
Are we destined for another Georgia thriller? They sure have a knack for drama this year given what we saw against Clemson, LSU, and Tennessee. The Bulldogs also made the North Texas game more interesting than it had to be due to special teams mistakes. Let’s see what the market says…
Current Vegas Line: Georgia by 8, total of 64
That’s the kind of number that allows you to take your shots. If you believe Missouri is capable of scoring the upset, you’re getting eight bonus points that could come in very handy. If you believe Missouri is a pretender that’s about to be exposed because of their soft defense, you have a single digit line that won’t be an issue in a blowout. That Over/Under of 64 looks like it might be a touch low. Vandy’s road games landed on 73 and 79, while Georgia has made it to 66 or more in four of its five games.
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