The annual Auburn-Georgia cross-division rivalry takes center stage Saturday as the SEC on CBS Game of the Week. It's the Tigers' final SEC game before the Iron Bowl, and as long as they step onto the field in Tuscaloosa with only one conference loss, that game will decide the SEC West's representative in Atlanta for the title game.
Auburn is undefeated since Gus Malzahn handed the play-calling duties over to Rhett Lashlee and the Tigers offense got rolling with Sean White at quarterback, but Gary Danielson says Georgia is the last team Malzahn wants to face this week. The Tigers are two-score road favorites, according to the oddsmakers, but SEC on CBS lead analyst points to the familiarity between the two coaches as a reason this game will be closer than expected.
"If I was Gus Malzahn, I'd want to play ten other teams in the SEC rather than Georgia this week," Danielson said. "I don't like the fact that Kirby Smart has faced me in big-time pressure games before, I think he is very attuned how to attack the Auburn offense. If you look at Georgia's defense, they're really coming on with a lot of young athletes on the defensive line. I think they tackle well at linebacker and it should be a really tough game.
"I think this would be a tremendous victory for Auburn if they can do it, and I know that Kirby Smart will have his team ready for this game."
Danielson also chimed in on Florida, which is turning to Austin Appleby at quarterback with Luke Del Rio injured. The Gators host South Carolina (noon ET) in the early kickoff of an SEC on CBS doubleheader.
"You can't look at this game and look back and wonder 'what is wrong with Florida?'" Danielson said. "Since 2009, when Tim Tebow left. It's not like they're in Iowa recruiting players. There are athletes all over this state, playing everywhere, and Florida cannot find an offense. It's almost impossible to believe that school and that franchise, with Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier, now they're going on six or seven years they cannot find an offense."
Danielson pointed out that in losing Del Rio, Florida is right back where it was a year ago: Leading the SEC East and hampered at quarterback -- "and last year, it was ugly." With Will Muschamp, Jake Bentley and South Carolina coming to town, the Gators will be relying on that defensive backfield to keep Florida on path for a spot in Atlanta.