The first of four bowl games on New Year's Day kicks off early in Atlanta when No. 9 Georgia takes on No. 8 Cincinnati from Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It's one of the most intriguing games of bowl season where we'll get to see the AAC champions take on one of the big boys from the SEC. Georgia has been on fire since turning to USC transfer QB JT Daniels and opened up the offense. The Bulldogs have won three straight while playing their best offensive games in terms of yards per play.
Meanwhile, the Bearcats are looking to cap off one of the most successful seasons in program history with a win over an SEC foe. Cincinnati may have missed out on the College Football Playoff, but the AAC champs are hoping to follow in the footsteps of UFC in 2017 with a win in the New Year's Six. Coach Luke Fickell is among the hottest names in the coaching carousel and he has built a well-balanced team.
Surprisingly, these two schools have met twice before, but not since 1976. Unsurprisingly, Georgia has won both meetings. Will Georgia make it three in a row over Cincinnati or will the Bearcats cap off a magical season with a New Year's Six bowl win? Let's take a closer look at the storylines and matchups to follow before making some expert picks both straight up and against the spread.
Georgia: The question of motivation always faces Power Five teams in New Year's Six bowl games vs. Group of Five teams. Linebacker Monty Rice, cornerback Eric Stokes, tight end Tre' McKitty and offensive guard Ben Cleveland are a few of the stars expected to sit this one out. But defensive back Richard LeCounte is fighting hard to return from his motorcycle accident and the offense will certainly want to set the tone for what should be a full season with Daniels at the helm in 2021. It'll be interesting to see how coach Kirby Smart and offensive coordinator Todd Monken utilize the backfield. Zamir White, James Cook, Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton are all slated to return next season, comprising the foundation of a championship-level offense. The tone can be set on Friday.
Cincinnati: Quarterback Desmond Ritter has been one of the sport's quiet superstars in 2020. He has put up 232.2 passing yards per game and 67.67 rushing yards, and has finally developed into the game-breaker that he showed flashes of becoming prior to the season. He'll put pressure a Georgia defense that will be short-handed due to injuries and opt-outs. It'll be interesting to see how Fickell handles this situation. It's the biggest game of his Cincinnati coaching career, and a win can not only elevate the status of the program to a level that we haven't seen at the Group of Five level since Boise State's run, but also set him up to be the hottest coaching candidate in the country next offseason.
Game: Peach Bowl
Date: Friday, Jan. 1 | Time: Noon ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium -- Atlanta
TV: ESPN| Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Peach Bowl Bowl prediction, picks
This one will be a barn-burner. Daniels will have his hands full against the stout Bearcats defense, but will find enough juice to get the job done late. With that said, Ridder will make the Bulldogs' heads spin enough to give his team the ball late with a chance to spring the upset. They won't be able to finish it off, but it'll be within a touchdown. Pick: Cincinnati (+7) | Georgia 31, Cincinnati 27
So who wins Cincinnati vs. Georgia? And which side of the spread hits over 70% of the time? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the Georgia vs. Cincinnati spread to back, all from the advanced model on a 56-36 run on its top-rated college football picks this season, and find out.