The latest chapter of The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry takes center stage on Saturday afternoon as No. 18 Auburn will play host to No. 2 Georgia down on the Plains. Fresh off of a dominating performance in a shutout win over Arkansas in Athens, Georgia, last week, the Bulldogs defense is the best in the nation by pretty much every meaningful metric and hasn't given up a point since Week 3.
Auburn has an out-of-conference loss on its resume, but the dramatic win over LSU in Baton Rouge last week. The big win on the road has now given the Tigers plenty of confidence heading into the meat of their SEC schedule.
What will happen on Saturday afternoon in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Let's break down the matchup as well as make picks straight up and against the spread. Follow LIVE coverage of Georgia vs. Auburn here on CBSSports.com
Georgia vs. Auburn: Need to know
Georgia's quarterback question: Starter JT Daniels is still nursing a scapula injury, but Stetson Bennett has been more than capable of shouldering the load in his stead. With that said, Bennett will be facing a big challenge on Saturday in a rivalry game vs. Auburn on the Plains. The last time he played in a massive road tilt he completed 45% of his passes and threw three interceptions against Alabama. That's not to say that this Auburn team is comparable to that Alabama squad, but the stage and setting will be very similar considering the long history between the two rivals. Can Bennett handle that pressure? Coach Kirby Smart wouldn't like to find out and would prefer trotting Daniels out to the field. He might not have that choice, though.
Bo 'Houdini' Nix: The magic Auburn quarterback Bo Nix pulled off last week in Baton Rouge was good enough for a residency at a ritzy Las Vegas hotel. He handled immense pressure and found ways to move the chains on a consistent basis, even when it looked like plays were crumbling around him. He's going to have to repeat the feat -- at least in terms of production -- against the Bulldogs in order for the Tigers to have a chance. Expect more on the ground from Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter, but it'll still be on Nix to be smart when Georgia's defense disrupts plays.
Old storylines: Auburn topped LSU in Baton Rouge last weekend for the first time since 1999, which makes Bryan Harsin the first coach to do so since Auburn was coached by a man who is now a United States Senator (Tommy Tuberville). Harsin took care of one negative trend last week and could do the same against a Georgia team that has won 13 of its last 16 vs. the Tigers. He was considered an outsider when he was hired last offseason, and maybe he's enough of an outsider to not care about what problems the program has recently endured against some of its biggest rivals.
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Georgia vs. Auburn prediction, picks
The best way for Georgia to prevent Nix from working his magic is to keep him on the sideline, and that's exactly what will happen. Whether its Bennett or Daniels starting under center, coordinator Todd Monken will do everything he can to shorten the game knowing that either of his quarterbacks are smart enough to be responsible with the football. With that said, Nix and his talented running back corps will do enough to make it a four-quarter game and keep it within two touchdowns. Prediction: Auburn (+14.5)
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