Road to Atlanta: Auburn and Tennessee

Brooks Austin and Blayne Gilmer of Dawgs Daily on SI.com breakdown the 2nd and 3rd games. Auburn and Tennessee both come to Athens in 2020.
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The road to Atlanta continues here at Dawgs Daily on SI.com. Last week Brooks Austin and Blayne Gilmer brought you and in-depth preview of the Georgia's season opener versus Arkansas. This week it's a two for one deal. The 2nd and 3rd games of the year are Auburn and Tennessee in Athens. Watch the full episode above and get to know the week two and three opponents for the Dawgs in their quest for a fourth consecutive trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game. Notes from the episode are provided below.

AUBURN

Regardless of your opinion of his skills, the Auburn Tigers are going to go as far a Bo Nix takes them this year. The Tigers are all in on Bo with Joey Gatewood having left the program and Nix having established himself on The Plains during his freshman season. The problem for Auburn? Last year, a year in which Bo Nix had his share of ups and downs, is likely the most talent Nix will be surrounded by at Auburn. Gone is Boobie Whitlow, gone is every single starting offensive lineman from a year ago, and outside Anthony Schwartz and Seth Williams, the receiving core is unproven.

Gus Malzahn could not have been overly thrilled when the SEC schedule was released. Not only will the offensive-minded coach be coming into Athens with a dearth of experience at the offensive line and running back positions, but also the Tigers will be coming off of a slobber knocker of a matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats. Mark Stoops is returning a ton of depth on the offensive line and across his entire defense. Stoops should probably have been SEC Coach of the Year last season for what he held together with no quarterback. Auburn will be lucky to arrive in Athens without a tally in the loss column already.

Defensively Auburn will have to replace their entire secondary, their top two tacklers in Jeremiah Dinson and Daniel Thomas, and absolute terrors upfront in Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson. Brown was drafted 7th overall by the Panthers this offseason and Davidson was a steal in the 2nd round for the Falcons. However, Kevin Steele is a tremendous defensive coordinator and someone that Malzahn trusts fully and does not mess with. Auburn's scheme versus LSU last year was something that both Georgia and Clemson tried to emulate unsuccessfully.

Predictions - Blayne: UGA 31 - UA 17, Brooks: UGA 35 - UA 10

Inexperience and a lack of supporting cast around Bo Nix will not be able to withstand a deep and likely rest Georgia squad in 2020.

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TENNESSEE 

Who is going to be the quarterback? Jarrett Guarantano, Harrison Bailey, and Brian Maurer are all vying for the starting position. Obviously the quarterback is vital to any team's success, even though the Volunteers caught fire last season with less than stellar play from the position. The Vols have won six straight and have had a nice offseason in recruiting. There is a lot of momentum heading into 2020 for Jeremy Pruitt's squad, and it should provide for a nice start to their season.

We at Dawgs Daily on SI.com expect UT to be 2 - 0 when they arrive in Athens on week three. Tennessee should be able to come up with victories over South Carolina and Missouri in their first two games. By the time Jim Chaney and company face off against the Bulldogs, it would not be shocking to see the orange and white implementing a two-quarterback system and trying their best to give Harrison Bailey the reigns. The very talented true freshman is a big pocket passer and someone who can deliver the deep ball well. Chaney's offenses are at their best when they are taking shots. The problem for Tennessee is that Georgia's secondary is incredibly talented and experienced this season.

Look for this game to be one that Georgia struggles in early offensively are playing a tough Auburn defensive unit the week before. Even though we like how the Dawgs matchup with Auburn this season, that game will still take a physical toll and with a COVID altered preseason and fall camp, it will be shocking if we don't see a number of minor injuries and bumps and bruises pile up after the first two weeks. Also, Georgia will have to prevent themselves from looking ahead to the Titanic matchup with Alabama and Pruitt is a defensive minded coach and will have a good plan for the Monken attack. In the end, the Dawgs will have too much depth and too much team speed for the Volunteers.

Predictions - Blayne: UGA 28 - UT 17, Brooks: 31 - 14

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