No. 1 Georgia will square off with No. 11 Kentucky in a battle of unbeatens between the hedges on Saturday as the race to the SEC East crown heats up significantly in Athens, Georgia. Each team enters this marquee showdown with identical 6-0 (4-0 SEC) records, and holding the head-to-head tiebreaker will be an enormous boost as the season starts to wind down.
The Bulldogs are fresh off of a win over rival Auburn, while the Wildcats dispatched of LSU with relative ease last weekend in Lexington, Kentucky. Georgia has won 11 straight over the Kentucky, but the Wildcats are 6-0 for the first time since 1950 -- when they went 10-0 under legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.
What will happen on Saturday afternoon? Let's break down the matchup and make picks straight up and against the spread.
Georgia vs. Kentucky: Need to know
QB questions remain: Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett IV has been money in place of starter JT Daniels, who has been in and out of the lineup this season with multiple injuries. The latest issue that he's dealing with now has kept him out of the last two games and limited him in practice over the last couple of weeks. Who will start on Saturday and, more importantly, will it matter? The Georgia defense has been lights out and the running game has been devastating thanks to one of the deepest and most talented running back rooms in the country. Bennett has averaged 12 yards per attempt this season, which is more than enough to take pressure off of the running game and keep opposing secondaries honest.
Can Kentucky solve the Georgia defensive riddle?: Nobody has been able to figure out how to consistently move the football against this Georgia defense yet, and it'll be on the Wildcats to put an end to that trend if it has any hope of springing the upset. That's easier said than done, though. It's unlikely that they'll be able to put together long, sustained drives against this unit, and hitting big plays will be the path of least resistance. There's one problem ... Kentucky doesn't do that. It ranks 11th in the SEC in plays of 10 or more yards with 85 and last in the conference in passing plays of the same distance with 44. That will have to change on Saturday. Otherwise, this could get ugly.
Levis on the ground: Kentucky quarterback Will Levis has been a bright spot this season and made a big impact on the ground last week with 75 yards and two rushing touchdowns. If Kentucky is going to have success against this defense, more of that would be a good idea. If Levis is a bigger part of the ground game, it'll force the Bulldogs defense to defend all 11 players and will give the Wildcats a puncher's chance against one of the deepest and most disciplined defenses in the country. Levis has 163 yards and three rushing touchdowns this year (including sack yardage), and might need to flirt with the century mark Saturday.
How to watch Georgia vs. Kentucky live
Georgia vs. Kentucky prediction, picks
Give me the Bulldogs to win and cover in an old-school, ground-and-pound slugfest. Coach Kirby Smart is not going to be threatened by this Kentucky offense, which means that offensive coordinator Todd Monken will pound the rock, work off play-action no matter who is taking the snaps and lean on the Wildcats in the second half to get a fourth quarter cover. It won't be pretty -- which is exactly the way that Smart likes it. Prediction: Georgia (-22.5)
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