Bowl Breakdown: Independence

Publish date:

Texas A&M (6-6) vs. Georgia (7-5)Dec. 28, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Reason to watch: Because if we're really, really lucky, it will snow like it did the last time Texas A&M played in Shreveport, La. On Dec. 31, 2000, the Aggies lost a 43-41 thriller in overtime to Mississippi State while playing on a blanket of freshly fallen snow. More current reasons include a look at two potential 2010 offensive superstars. Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson was spectacular against Texas on Thanksgiving, and Georgia tailback Washaun Ealey gashed Georgia Tech for 183 yards two days later.

Keep an eye on: Georgia's defense, which has exactly one full-time coach. After the season, Bulldogs coach Mark Richt fired defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, linebackers coach John Janceck and defensive ends coach Job Fabris. That left only defensive line coach Rodney Garner, who is getting help from graduate assistants Mitch Doolittle and Todd Hartley. The de facto coordinator will be Richt himself, who before becoming Georgia's head coach prior to the 2001 season was a career offensive assistant. "I'm not trying to reinvent anything," Richt said. "My role is to set the parameters and make sure everything is being covered and to make sure we have a plan schematically and a plan to implement that strategy." The Aggies, who average 465.3 yards and 33.9 points a game, have to be excited, but don't expect Georgia to fold. Even though the defense played so poorly for much of the season that most of the coaches were fired, the Bulldogs did contain Georgia Tech's powerful offense enough to upset the Yellow Jackets.

Did you know: Georgia punter Drew Butler was a unanimous first-team All-America selection, meaning he made the first team on all five All-America teams recognized by the NCAA. The last Bulldog to make all five was Champ Bailey in 1998.

Final analysis: While the Bulldogs stitched their defense together well enough to stop Georgia Tech, they'll have a tougher time stopping the Aggies. Johnson can do damage through the air and on the ground, and if Georgia's troubles with Florida's Tim Tebow are any indication, the Bulldogs will struggle to defend Johnson. Meanwhile, Georgia's offensive line will have to keep Texas A&M defensive end Von Miller -- the nation's sack leader with 17 -- away from quarterback Joe Cox.

The pick: Texas A&M 38, Georgia 28.

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