National media explains why this game means more to Georgia than it does Florida
The Georgia-Florida football game is the biggest game on the college football slate. It is the only game of the weekend that pits two top-10 teams against each other. And with Alabama, LSU and Ohio State all off, most of the national media will be tuned into this game.
Many have dubbed this game as a playoff elimination game, given that both teams enter with one-loss on their resumes. Florida lost at LSU, while Georgia stumbled at home against South Carolina.
While No. 6 Florida is the higher-ranked team, No. 8 Georgia is the point-spread favorite over the Gators. And because of where Georgia has been in recent seasons — national championship game in 2017, SEC championship last year — the Bulldogs have to win this game to just keep up with their expectations.
That’s why CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd is saying that Georgia cannot afford to lose on Saturday.
“Meanwhile, Georgia must win Saturday,” Dodd wrote. “It has already won the SEC and played for a national championship under Smart, who has beaten Florida in consecutive games. It started the last two seasons ranked third. Anything less than a playoff berth this season has to be a disappointment.”
USA Today’s George Schroeder echoed a similar sentiment.
“A Georgia win doesn’t change much of anything, but maybe that’s the point,” Schroeder wrote. “A trip to Auburn would still loom, and after that presumably the SEC championship and, just maybe, another matchup with Alabama. A loss isn’t necessarily a pivot point, either. But for the program’s supposed trajectory, success Saturday seems critical.
As for Georgia’s playoff chances, a second loss would essentially sink any hope they have of making it. Even if Georgia wins tomorrow, it would not lock up the SEC East, as the Bulldogs still have to play Auburn and Texas A&M later in the month.
If Georgia is able to get through that stretch without suffering another defeat, it would likely play the winner of Alabama-LSU in the SEC championship game. If the Bulldogs were to win that game, it would likely be seen as enough to get Georgia into the College Football Playoff.
But as ESPN’s Heather Dinich lays out, Georgia’s resume does have some holes in it.
“The Bulldogs’ résumé is stained by a double-overtime loss to 3-5 South Carolina — a defeat that currently looks worse than Oklahoma’s loss at K-State,” Dinich wrote. “Georgia also didn’t score until the second half against Kentucky, leaving plenty of doubt about whether it can beat the Gators, let alone win the SEC. If Georgia does win the SEC, it would have enough on its résumé to overcome the South Carolina loss, but cheering for Notre Dame certainly can’t hurt.”
As far as predictions for the game, most do seem to be siding with the Bulldogs. Five out of six USA Today writers picked Georgia to win. For CBS Sports, four out of seven experts selected the Bulldogs to knock off the Gators. ESPN”s Bill Connelly’s SP+ projections do have Georgia winning by a score of 29-23.
Georgia and Florida get things started at 3:30 p.m. ET. The game will air on CBS. The Bulldogs have won the last two match-ups between the two.
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