ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart and his No. 1-ranked Bulldogs aren’t looking past Kentucky, but plenty of others are.
The AllState Playoff Predictor puts Georgia’s chances at winning the national championship at 46 percent at the halfway point of the regular season.
The Bulldogs have become the talk of the nation with their suffocating defense and efficient offense entering into a showdown with No. 11-ranked Kentucky at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Sanford Stadium (TV: CBS).
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SEC Network analyst Paul Finebaum, who was on the UGA campus on Friday with SEC Nation staff, thinks there’s only one game left that could be somewhat of a challenge and it’s not UK.
“The only game I think that could even be interesting, and I didn’t say ‘lose,’ I said interesting, would be the Florida game in two weeks in Jacksonville, it’s the ultimate rivalry game,” Finebaum said on ESPN video.
“But having seen Florida against Alabama, when they looked pretty good, and Kentucky, which they threw the game away , I don’t see it happening.
“Alabama lurks as an SEC Championship Game but quite frankly, (Georgia) could lose that game, they could not even show up, and they are still in the playoffs.”
• Charleston Southern more than 99 percent
• At Georgia Tech 94 percent
The Wildcats, meanwhile, have provided a worthy challenge for the Bulldogs.
Georgia won 14-3 last season in Lexington, but it was a struggle, and a handful of Georgia players left injured.
The year before, on a cold, rainy night in Sanford Stadium, the Bulldogs and Wildcats played to a scoreless stalemate through the first half before Georgia got on track for a 21-0 win.
Then, 2018 in Lexington, the Bulldogs beat a No. 11-ranked Kentucky team 34-17 in a game that decided the SEC East Division.
ESPN College Football Playoff analyst Heather Dinich likes the momentum the Wildcats bring into the contest, but not enough to pick the upset.
“Kentucky has the momentum, they have the magic, but they are also banged up on defense, particularly up front,” Dinich said. “I don’t think they (Georgia) have a tough task ahead of them that they can’t win.
“I think their most difficult games are behind them, and when you look at Georgia’s defense, which has only allowed two touchdowns this season They’re the most complete team we’ve seen.
“It’s not just the defense, they have outscored opponents by 206 points, so I’m sticking with the Dawgs, no one is going to beat them.”