Turns out the biggest game of the season in the SEC East isn't going to be Florida vs. Georgia. The emergence of the Kentucky Wildcats, 20-13 winners over the Gators two weeks ago, has given the No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs another ascending program to vanquish.
Georgia has sustained a number of key injuries this season but it has not matter, the Bulldogs have won their four SEC contests by an average margin of 37.5 points despite the last two opponents coming into the matchup ranked.
Kentucky is the latest team that will look to knock off Georgia, and the Irish Breakdown staff predicts whether or not that will happen.
BRYAN DRISKELL, PUBLISHER
Prediction: Georgia 20, Kentucky 17
Nobody destroys teams every single week, not even the 2019 LSU squad dominated every week. The Bulldogs have sustained a lot of injuries on offense and now their defense is getting touched up, and Kentucky has had their fair share of big game wins this season as well.
This will be arguably the best defense Georgia has faced since the opener against Clemson, and the Wildcats will take advantage of the injuries by forcing a couple of turnovers and keeping the Bulldog offense in check. Georgia won't steam roll Kentucky the way it did Arkansas and Auburn.
That won't be enough for the upset. Georgia's defense is just too good and Kentucky is ultimately too one-dimensional to pull off this win. Quarterback Will Levis went 7-17 for 87 yards in the upset win over Florida, but that type of performance won't be good enough against Georgia. If the Wildcats are going to pull off this upset they need Levis to hit some big plays in the pass game, which will take pressure off outstanding back Chris Rodriguez.
I don't think the Wildcats ultimately have enough offense to get this one done.
VINCE DEDARIO, FOOTBALL ANALYST
Prediction: Georgia 31, Kentucky 14
With JT Daniels still on the shelf the Bulldogs are hoping backup sensation Stetson Bennett can continue the run for Georgia. Kentucky has played their best ball up to this point in recent memory but they haven’t faced a team like Georgia. Turnovers will be the Achilles heel for the wildcats but they will stay inside the spread.
ANDREW MCDONOUGH, IB CONTRIBUTOR
Prediction: Georgia 31, Kentucky 9
Kentucky has been one of the top stories of the season, racing out to a 6-0 start and #11 ranking. The nation is finally starting to take notice of the quality job that Mark Stoops has done turning around the Wildcat program, and Stoops’ name is starting to get connected to high profile programs who may have job openings (like LSU). However, a matchup on the road against Georgia is a tall ask for Kentucky. Georgia has been unquestionably the best team in the country this season and is led by a defense that still is only allowing 5.5 PPG, despite playing games against Clemson, Arkansas, and Auburn.
The Georgia defense will be able to make Kentucky one-dimensional. The Wildcats want to run the ball – they average 214.7 rushing yards per game – but the Dawgs only allow 66.5 yards on the ground. Ultimately, QB Will Levis and the SEC’s 13th ranked passing offense do not present enough of a threat to keep Georgia from stacking the box. You can bet that Kentucky will be ready to play and keep this a game early, but ultimately Georgia wins this one going away.
SHAUN DAVIS, ESPN CHICAGO
Prediction: Georgia 31, Kentucky 13
Georgia has won 11 straight in this matchup, and the Wildcats have only won 12 times in 74 all-time matchups. Safe to say the series has been lopsided. The Wildcats have been playing good defense sporting 13 sacks on the season while having one of the best rushing attacks in the nation. Georgia will have an advantage with their speed at the skill positions and should be able to make plays against a Wildcats defense that is stronger in the front seven than it is on the back end. The Georgia defense is giving up 5.5 points per game and Kentucky won’t be able to line up and dominate the line of scrimmage in this matchup.
RYAN ROBERTS, RISENDRAFT
Prediction: Georgia 37, Kentucky 14
Kentucky has some dudes. Wan'dale Robinson and Chris Rodriguez are both superb players. The problem is the Georgia defense is about as legit as you will find. It is just another day at the office for the Bulldogs.
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