Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, September 12, 2014 at 3:00 PM
Based on media coverage, and Las Vegas chatter, you’d think that the Georgia Bulldogs had opened the season with a blowout win over Florida State, Alabama, or Oregon. Suddenly EVERYBODY is talking about Georgia as a serious SEC championship threat, and a team with a real shot to reach the Final Four.
This week’s pointspread backs that up. At last report, Georgia was -6 on the road against South Carolina. That means they’d be about -9 on a neutral field. And, if you’re nine points better than SC on a neutral field…that puts you on a short list of national powers. Don’t forget that SC was -10 in its season opener against Texas A&M!
There is a lot to like about Georgia, particularly when star running back Todd Gurley is healthy. He may not be Herschel Walker (for those of you old enough to remember what a force he was at the college level). But, he could very well be in the neighborhood. And that has to be respected. Still…laying a touchdown at South Carolina?
Let’s run some numbers. (This will be our final week in the previews where we use stats from 2013. Beginning next week, we’ll only look at 2014 data)
2013 Record: 8-5 (lost to Nebraska 24-19 in Gator Bowl)
2013 Rankings: 17 on offense, 45 on defense
Returning Starters: 5 on offense, 10 on defense
Quarterback: Hutson Mason (Senior, game manager)
This Year: Beat Clemson 45-21 as a 10-point favorite two weeks ago, then had a bye to get ready for their SEC opener
You can see why many sharps are so excited about Georgia. They return 10 starters on defense…which at least gives them a chance to have a truly elite stop unit. And, they managed top 20 on offense last year even with Gurley on the shelf. Given that he can help you on offense and special teams (he returned a kickoff for a TD vs. Clemson two Saturdays ago), it’s understandable that Georgia would be on all kinds of “watch” lists. But, there is a difference between “a team to watch” and “a team that already deserves ultimate respect.” Overwhelming a finesse team like Clemson doesn’t automatically mean you’re an SEC power.
2013 Record: 11-2 (beat Wisconsin 34-24 in Capital One Bowl)
2013 Rankings: 36 on offense, 19 on defense
Returning Starters: 7 on offense, 6 on defense
Quarterback: Dylan Thompson (Senior, talented but inconsistent)
This Year: Was stunned in their season opener by Texas A&M 52-28 as a 10-point favorite (missing the spread by 34 points!), then beat East Carolina 33-23 last week as a 14-point favorite.
South Carolina was caught flat-footed, and never recovered in that stunning opener against Texas A&M. But, that was a spread team with sharp passing rather than a smash mouth team that’s going to try to own the point of attack. South Carolina matches up better with Georgia…and they certainly will have a chip on their shoulder in their first high profile TV game after the Aggie debacle. Georgia doesn’t just have to beat South Carolina…they have to beat a super-motivated South Carolina that will have something to prove.
Las Vegas Line: Georgia by 6, total of 60
By Monday, or maybe by November…that pointspread may end up looking crazy. We see this all the time in mid-September matchups. Once question marks are answered…once blanks are filled in…what looked logical in September seems insane two months later. Maybe the wrong team is favored because everyone is overreacting to early highlight reels. Or, maybe Georgia really is the next Alabama…and a line of six will seem like a steal because it should have been 10-14.
JIM HURLEY is always ahead of the curve. What everyone else has figured out later he knows right away! If Georgia/South Carolina deserves to be on your Saturday ticket, you’ll hear it from the man himself. Game day BEST BETS can always be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about seasonal packages, or combination packages for football and baseball, call us in the office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155 (or Saturday morning before kickoff).
We’ll have another college football TV preview for you in tomorrow’s report. Here’s the upcoming NOTEBOOK schedule…
Saturday: College Football TV Preview…Tennessee at Oklahoma
Sunday: NFL Sunday Night TV Preview…Chicago at San Francisco
Monday: NFL Monday Night TV Preview…Philadelphia at Indianapolis
Tuesday: College Football Notes or MLB Pennant Race Game Preview
Wednesday: NFL Notes or MLB Pennant Race Game Preview (some big MLB matchups early next week, including Washington/Atlanta, Milwaukee/St. Louis, Seattle/LA Angels)
There’s already a lot of chatter about the first year of football’s Final Four. Will Georgia be there? Will Oklahoma be there? Hey, JIM HURLEY’s going to be there…and be building your bankrolls all season long with BIG, JUICY WINNERS!