No. 10 Georgia needs to rebound quickly if it wants to keep its College Football Playoff hopes alive. And the Bulldogs don't get a particularly easy break with Kentucky coming to town this Saturday. The Bulldogs are coming off a shocking overtime loss to South Carolina in Week 7 and need to win out if they plan to even make the SEC title game in December.
A second upset loss would all but end Georgia's College Football Playoff hopes -- as it now probably has to win out to have any shot of making it -- which means the Bulldogs will be even more motivated to bounce back this weekend against Kentucky. Georgia is, however, 3-3 under Kirby Smart in games immediately following a loss. If history is any indicator, Kentucky could actually have a better shot at beating Georgia in light of last weekend's loss to the Gamecocks. Let's breakdown the matchup and make picks straight up and against the spread.
Georgia: Three interceptions and season-lows in completion percentage (49.0) and yards per attempt (5.8) last Saturday against South Carolina amounted to one of quarterback Jake Fromm's worst performances to date. Fromm wasn't the only one struggling on offense -- his offensive line allowed a season-high three sacks -- but how the junior signal-caller responds this weekend will be telling for the rest of Georgia's season. If Fromm's blockers are back in shape, that should also help alleviate struggles in the run game. They averaged just 4.02 yards per carry last weekend as the Bulldogs out-gained the Gamecocks 468-297 but still suffered the stunning upset.
Kentucky: The Wildcats will have two quarterbacks available this weekend as Sawyer Smith (who has started after Terry Wilson suffered a season-ending knee injury but did not play in last week's win over Arkansas due to his own injuries) was back practicing this week. Star receiver Lynn Bowden, who switched roles and started under center last week to rush for 196 yards and two touchdowns while adding 78 yards and one touchdown in the air on 7-of-11 passing, could also see some time in the quarterback slot again. Who they pick will determine their strategy for besting the Bulldogs' defense, which is more stout against the run (allowing a league-leading 73.3 yards a game) than the pass. Kentucky needs to start strong if it wants to upset Georgia on the road this weekend, and that means getting on the board early. The Wildcats have played from behind in every game except Eastern Michigan. That can't happen in Athens.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 19 | Time: 6 p.m. ET
Location: Sanford Stadium -- Athens, Georgia
TV: ESPN | Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Game prediction, picks
The Bulldogs hold the position advantage in almost every category. Their quarterback is better (assuming Fromm returns to form), he has more offensive weapons at his disposal and his line is usually one of the strongest in the SEC. Georgia's defense leads the SEC in allowing the fewest points per game (12.3) and they've got a College Football Playoff shot on the line. When operating on all cylinders, this team is tough to beat. Given that Kentucky is still struggling to find an offensive identity and its defense has allowed nearly 100 more yards per game than its hosts, a road win would be a lot to ask. Pick: Georgia (-25)
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