Georgia getting lots of love
By Ralph D. Russo
The Associated Press
Sometimes a big game really isn’t.
No. 1 Georgia faces No. 11 Kentucky on Saturday, the third straight game for the Bulldogs against a ranked Southeastern Conference opponent.
Georgia won the first two games by a combined score of 71-10, and the oddsmakers don’t expect this one to be all that much closer.
After being favored by 18¢ points against Arkansas and by 15¢ at Auburn, the Bulldogs are now more than a three-touchdown favorite against Kentucky, the only other unbeaten team in the SEC.
Seems a bit dismissive of the Wildcats, who the past two weeks have taken down traditional SEC heavyweights Florida and LSU at home.
Really, it’s a statement about Georgia’s early season dominance, especially on defense. The Bulldogs are currently allowing 5.5 points per game. The last major college football team to allow fewer points per game over a full season was Alabama in 1979 at 5.3.
At 3.60 yards per play allowed, Georgia is on a pace to have the best mark in that category since Alabama in 2011 (3.32).
There is still half a regular season left for Georgia that includes some of the better offenses in the SEC such as Florida, Missouri and an improving Tennessee. An SEC championship matchup with Alabama’s powerful offense is also still very possible if not likely.
Still, Georgia’s defense, anchored by massive tackles Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter, has been an unrelenting monster.
As for Kentucky, the Wildcats are positioned to have one the best seasons in school history. They will get be greeted in Athens, Georgia, by ESPN’s “College GameDay” and will play in the SEC’s premier TV position on CBS at 3:30 p.m.
The rankings and records warrant the hype, but it will take a monumental effort by the Wildcats for the game to live up to it.
The picks with lines provide by FanDuel Sportsbook:
California (+13¢) at No. 9. Oregon: Ducks had an open date to stew over that loss to Stanford and get healthy … Oregon, 31-20
No. 24 San Diego State (–8¢) at San Jose State: Defensive-minded Aztecs looking for first 6-0 start since 2017 … San Diego State, 17-13
No. 11 Kentucky (+21¢) at No. 1 Georgia: Bulldogs have won 11 straight meetings … Georgia, 31-10
Purdue (+11¢) at No. 2 Iowa: Boilermakers have not cracked 13 points in any of their last three games … Iowa, 26-13
UCF (+21¢) at No. 3 Cincinnati: Knights passing game has fallen apart since the injury to QB Dillon Gabriel … Cincinnati, 34-17
TCU (+13¢) at No. 4 Oklahoma: Spencer Rattler or Caleb Williams at quarterback for the Sooners? The answer seems obvious but coach Lincoln Riley has been coy … Oklahoma, 41-23
No. 5 Alabama (–17¢) at Mississippi State: Tide has not lost consecutive regular-season games since 2007, Nick Saban’s first season as coach … Alabama, 38-17
No. 10 Michigan State (–4¢) at Indiana: Spartans RB Kenneth Walker III leads the nation in rushing and has more runs of at least 10 yards (26) than any player in the country … Michigan State, 28-21, Best bet
No. 12 Oklahoma State (+5¢) at No. 25 Texas: Can the Cowboys and the Big 12’s best defense keep the Longhorns down after a crushing Red River collapse? … Texas, 27-23
No. 13 Mississippi (–2¢) at Tennessee: Rebels’ Lane Kiffin returns to Knoxville as a head coach for the first time since his one season leading the Vols in 2009 … Ole Miss, 45-35
Auburn (+3¢) at No. 17. Arkansas: Tigers have won five straight in the series … Arkansas, 27-26
No. 18 Arizona State (–1¢) at Utah: Sun Devils can take a commanding lead in the Pac-12 South … Arizona State, 28-23
No. 19 BYU (+5¢) at Baylor: Bears offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes was with BYU the last three seasons and has turned around Baylor’s offense … Baylor, 27-24.
No. 20 Florida (–10¢) at LSU: How much fight is left in the Tigers? … Florida, 35-23.
No. 21 Texas A&M (–9¢) at Missouri: Tigers have won seven of the last nine meetings, but the former Big 12 rivals have only played three times since joining the SEC and not since 2014 … Texas A&M 35-23
No. 22. NC State (–3¢) at Boston College: Is the right team favored here? … Boston College, 24-20, Upset special
Nebraska (–3¢) at Minnesota — @KobiRugby: Gophers have lost their top two tailbacks to injury … Nebraska, 21-14
Arizona (+6¢) at Colorado — @davesouthorn: Wildcats won’t have a better opportunity to snap the nation’s longest losing streak at 17 games … Arizona, 21-17
Louisiana Tech (–6¢) at UTEP @shawn–bubba: You might not have noticed, but the Miners are 5-1 for the first time since 2010 .. UTEP 27-26.
Last week: 13-10 straight; 12-11 against the spread. Season: 93-48 straight; 77-64 against the spread.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP