The Florida Gators (7-0) are ranked second on the last BCS Standings heading into their annual “World’s Biggest Cocktail Party” on Saturday vs. the 10th ranked Georgia Bulldogs (6-1) in Jacksonville, but the Gators may be in for a surprise from a Georgia team that was probably caught looking ahead to this game while barely getting by Kentucky 29-24 last Saturday night.
Florida is favored by 6½ points, but here are three reasons why Georgia will shake up the BCS this week with an outright upset.
1. Murray passes Georgia to early lead: Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray completed 30-of-38 passes for 427 yards and four touchdowns vs. Kentucky, and has thrown for 1906 yards in seven games while averaging an excellent 9.6 yards per attempt with 16 touchdown passes against just four interceptions. He can pass Georgia to a quick early lead here and force Florida to play from behind for a change. The Gators have been winning mainly because of their rushing this season, as they rank 25th in the country with 212.7 rushing yards per game.
However, they have also been playing with the lead for most of the time, so Murray and the Bulldogs can take Florida out of its element with a lead, and if the Bulldogs can extend that lead to two possessions, the Gators can really be in trouble as their offense does not seem to be built to come from behind this year.
2. Bulldogs commit to stopping Florida run: Now on paper, Florida seems to have a mismatch with that vaunted running attack going up against a 74th ranked Georgia rushing defense allowing 167.9 yards per game. However, the Bulldogs are still allowing a reasonable 4.0 yards per rush and they have effectively been game planning for this game for three weeks as they had a bye week prior to their sleep-walking effort vs. the Wildcats. Look for Georgia to sell out against the run early even if it means putting an extra player or two in the box, as the Georgia pass defense is fine at 28th in the country and can defend the Florida receivers with man coverage.
Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel won’t beat you with his throwing arm, as he is more of an expert game manager that does not make many mistakes than a deep thrower. If Georgia is effective with the extra men in the box, it would put Driskel in third and long situations, which is right where the Bulldogs want him.
3. Georgia protects lead with running game: If Georgia is successful with the first two goals and thus ends up with a lead, the Bulldogs can then turn to their 30th ranked rushing attack to protect that lead. Georgia is averaging 206.2 rushing yards per game on a nice 5.3 yards per carry, led by a great 1-2 punch of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, and although Florida is 10th in the country in rushing defense at only 97.3 yards per game, the successful passing by Murray earlier on could soften up that run defense for Georgia’s Dynamic Duo.