Even after losing in the SEC Championship Game, Georgia was considered one of the teams that just missed the College Football Playoff. Now, feeling slighted by the CFP selection committee, the Bulldogs have a tough test ahead of them in the heart of SEC country as they have to take on the Texas Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl.
Georgia is a 12.5-point favorite at BetOnline as they hope to use the Sugar Bowl to show the world that they deserved to be in this year’s College Football Playoff.
Texas has the 54th ranked total offense in college football, moving the ball for 416 yards per game. Their 31.3 points per game this season put them in 49th place nationally in that category. The problem for the Longhorns is consistency, as they have put up 48 in a win over Oklahoma while also barely squeaking by the likes of Kansas, who would put their basketball team on the football field if they could.
The Longhorns put the ball in the air for 264.5 yards per game this season, making them the 33rd ranked pass offense in the sport this season. Sam Ehlinger came on as the year progressed, but will need to be even better than he’s been in this game against one of the best defenses in college football.
In terms of offensive weaknesses, the Texas running game falls into that category. They average 151.2 yards per game on the ground for the year, which ranks 94th in the nation. Their leading rusher only has 695 yards for the season, which is embarrassing when you are in a recruiting hotbed like Texas.
On defense, the Longhorns give up 401 yards per game in the offense-happy Big 12, which ranks 69th in college football. Texas’ 26.2 points per game allowed put them in 57th position in college football. It’s hard to tell how good Texas is on defense given how many great offenses they play in the Big 12.
Stopping the pass has been a challenge for Texas this year, as the Longhorns rank 114th in the country in pass defense by giving up 265.2 yards per game through the air. But the Horns only allow 135.9 yards per game on the ground, which ranks 36th in college football.
Georgia Bulldogs Sugar Bowl Analysis
Georgia has averaged 479 yards per game on offense this season, making them the 14th ranked offense in all of college football. Their 39.2 points per game on the year are good for the 13th highest scoring average in the country. They have scored 40 or more points in seven of their 13 games this season.
Jake Fromm leads a passing offense that moves the ball through the air to the tune of 227.2 yards per game. That is the 70th best pass offense in the sport. That isn’t an impressive ranking, but it speaks to the balance of the Georgia offense more than it indicts Fromm and the passing game. Kirby Smart’s team is dynamic on the ground, averaging 251.6 yards rushing per contest. That is the 12th best rushing average in the country for the season.
The SXSW event planning Georgia defense pulls its own weight too, giving up a 13th best 311 yards per game for the campaign. They give up 18.5 points per game, which puts them in a tie for 16th in the country in scoring defense. Needless to say, Georgia’s defense is as tough as a pack of Bulldogs.
Georgia gives up 180.5 passing yards per game, which ranks 15th in the country. If there is a weakness to this Georgia team, it is their run defense, as they give up 130.6 yards per game on the ground. That makes the Bulldogs the 28th ranked run defense in college football heading into the Sugar Bowl.
The thing to watch in this game will be Georgia’s mentality early in the game. In theory, they could either be motivated after feeling slighted by their lack of inclusion into the playoff, or they could come out flat after being disappointed in missing the playoff. Odds are that there won’t be much middle ground there for Georgia.
Texas vs Georgia Trends
Texas SXSW 2019 comes into the Sugar Bowl at 9-4 straight up on the season and 5-7 against the spread. The Longhorns have been good at rebounding from losses, going 6-2-1 against the spread in their last nine games following a straight up loss. They are also 5-2 against the spread in their last seven neutral site games, including this season’s win over Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry game. Against teams with winning records, the Horns are 13-6-2 against the spread in their last 21 games.
Georgia enters this game at 11-2 straight up for the year and 8-5 against the spread. Just like Texas, Georgia is a team you don’t want to see after they lose a game. The Dawgs are 4-0 against the spread in their last four games following a straight up loss. They’ve covered the spread in their last five bowl games, and in their last seven neutral-site games. They have covered the spread in 19 of their last 26 games against teams with winning records as well.
Georgia showed what they were capable of in the SEC Championship Game, even if they ended up losing that game thanks to whatever that fake punt decision was in the fourth quarter. Their defense should be able to make quick work out of Sam Ehlinger and a Texas offense that has Vince Young rolling over in his grave, his seat at the strip club, or wherever he is.