To complete the New Year's Day bowl schedule on Wednesday evening, the 2020 Sugar Bowl will take center stage of the college football world with No. 5 Georgia set to square off with No. 7 Baylor. For the second consecutive season, the Bulldogs enter the game in New Orleans against a Big 12 team having lost in the SEC title game thus missing out on a spot in the College Football Playoff. The Bears, meanwhile, are out to cap off an incredible season in which they were in the hunt for the Big 12 title right up until the very end.
Georgia is going to be shorthanded against a Baylor team that is playing in its first major bowl since 2014. Coach Matt Rhule has done an amazing job of turning around the Bears program, in more ways than one, and could cap off a dream season with a win.
What will go down in the 2020 Sugar Bowl? Keep on reading for a full breakdown of the game along with our experts' picks and some analysis on the spread.
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Georgia: It's probably easier to note the starters who are suiting up for Georgia than the ones who aren't. That's how many players are missing the Sugar Bowl. Linemen Andrew Thomas and right tackle Isaiah Wilson are among the handful of starters who will not be suiting up in New Orleans while defensive back J.R. Reed also won't play because of a minor foot injury. The list of starters or backups who won't play, for various reasons, is starting to become a laundry list. And then there's whole motivation factor of playing in the same bowl for the second straight year. But the other way to look at the attrition for the Bulldogs is that this will give plenty of other backups/rotational starters more of an opportunity to get meaningful practices and playing time. How this team looks in general with so many new faces taking the field makes the Bulldogs a big unknown.
Baylor: What a season this has been for Rhule's Bears. From 1-11 just two seasons ago to an 11-2 effort this year with an appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game. Now Baylor has a chance to notch its best win of the season after coming so close to beating Oklahoma in two opportunities this season. The key, as has been the case all season, is the defense. The three-man front, led by James Lynch, against a Georgia offensive line that is missing three starters could be a mismatch. On offense, quarterback Charlie Brewer has been cleared to play after leaving the Big 12 title game with a concussion.
Sugar Bowl prediction, picks
I sincerely hope you got Baylor at +7.5 while the getting was good. The line has dropped two full points, and frankly it's a little surprising it hasn't dropped a little more. It may still before kickoff. There are simply too many unknowns with Georgia in terms of performance because of the number of absences. Even if you don't think the Bears can pull the outright upset, taking the points with 7.5 on the board feels like a best bet. Pick: Baylor +7.5
Who will win Georgia vs. Baylor, and which critical X-factor makes one side of the spread hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread to back, all from the college football insider who has hit four straight picks on the Bears.