ATHENS — Just when Georgia football fans were getting accustomed to being put on upset watch for South Carolina, a nationally acclaimed oddsmaker has thrown out another shocking prediction.
“The surprise team in the conference could be Mizzou,” Former USA Today and current CBS oddsmaker Danny Sheridan said on The Paul Finebaum Show this week.
“I think they’ll win at least eight games and have a great chance to upset Georgia.”
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) August 28, 2018
Georgia football focus
The Bulldogs’ players have declined to engage in any sort of speculation or specific matchups.
Junior receiver Mecole Hartman explained why following Friday’s practice.
“We’re focused on Austin Peay,” Hardman said. “All the outside talk about whoever, we’ll face that when we get there.”
Defending SEC champion and No. 3-ranked Georgia football opens the season at 3:30 p.m. against the FCS Governors at Sanford Stadium (TV: ESPN).
“Right now we’re focused on Austin Peay Saturday,” Hardman reiterated. “All that talk about upsets, at the end of the day, you’ve got to get on the field and play us, but right now we’re focused on Austin Peay.”
The outside noise will continue, with networks and media types building up games each week, in part as mere promotion for the games.
That said, Missouri did show some offense in last year’s game against Georgia, and the contest falls a week before rival Tennessee is on the Bulldogs’ schedule.
Georgia-Missouri recent history
The Bulldogs won last season’s game at Sanford Stadium, 53-28, but halfway through the second quarter the score was 21-21.
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, who led the NCAA with 44 touchdown passes last season, threw four touchdown passes and one interception against the Bulldogs.
Georgia was content to pound the Tigers on the ground with 370 yards rushing on 51 attempts.
This season the Bulldogs play the Tigers on Sept. 22 in Columbia, Mo., in what currently figures to be a night game. Other marquee SEC games that day include Texas A&M at Alabama, and Florida at Tennessee.
Georgia is 6-1 all-time against Missouri, with six of those games taking place since the Tigers began play in the SEC in 2012.
Missouri’s win over the Bulldogs came in 2013, when the Tigers scored a 41-26 win over Georgia in Athens and went on to play in the SEC Championship Game.
Missouri lost to Auburn 59-42, but a statement had been made that the former Big 12 team could indeed compete in the SEC.
The Tigers won the SEC East Division again in 2014, losing to Alabama 42-13 in the SEC Championship Game.
South Carolina guarantee
Former Gamecock Tori Gurley guaranteed the current South Carolina players would beat the Bulldogs this season in the teams’ Sept. 8 game in Columbia, S.C.
“There’s a lot of things I see in Georgia where they can be beaten in Week 2,” Gurley said on the Paul Finebaum Show on the SEC Network. “That’s something I’m going to guarantee, that South Carolina gets the win in Williams-Brice.”
The Bulldogs are a 10 1/2-point favorite over the Gamecocks according to the “5Dimes” sports betting blog, which gives advanced lines on select games.
The South Carolina upset talk seems to be getting more talk than the Missouri pick, even though the Gamecocks have made just one SEC Championship Game appearance.
The 2010 Gamecocks, coached by Steve Spurrier, were trounced by Auburn i the SEC Championship Game, 56-17.
Many believe this season’s South Carolina team could prove dangerous, likely because it closed last season winning six of its final eight games including a 26-19 victory over Michigan in the Outback Bowl.
Other Georgia football odds for 2018 released by 5Dimes include:
• Georgia -9 1/2 over LSU
• Georgia -14 over Florida
• Georgia -5 over Auburn
• Georgia -19 over Georgia Tech