Line: Florida -5.5
With a victory against Florida Saturday, Georgia can clinch a spot in the SEC Championship for the third time in four years. They looked to have had the spot all wrapped until QB D.J. Shockley scrambled in the second quarter against Arkansas.
In steps Joe Tereshinksi. Joe Tereshinski will be playing in the most important game of his life Saturday in Jacksonville. The third generation bulldog will try to follow in the footsteps of father and grandfather and deliver a victory over the Gators. But make no mistake about it, Georgia will use their talented trio of running backs behind one the best offensive lines in the SEC this game. Thomas Brown, Kregg Lumpkin, and Danny Ware have helped churn out 170 yards per game on the ground for the Bulldogs. The best receiver for Georgia is not even a wide receiver—it is 6'7" TE Leonard Pope.
The Gators' defense has not received the credit they deserve due to the inconsistency of the ultra-hyped Meyer offense. Florida ranks fifth nationally in total defense, allowing just under 272 yards per game. LB Brandon Siler leads the Gator D along with an improving secondary. DT Ray McDonald may play in this game after injuring his knee against Tennessee in September. Creating turnovers has been a specialty of this Florida defense and they rank second nationally in turnover margin at almost +2 per game.
Urban Meyer's spread offense has not been as effective as Gator fans hoped for in his first season in the SEC. Florida does not rank higher than fourth in rushing or passing offense and are 53rd in the nation in total offense. Still, the Gators have plenty of talent of offense with WR Chad Jackson, QB Chris Leak, and RB DeShawn Wynn. The key for Florida will be giving Chris Leak time. Leak has the ability to pick teams apart and if he can do so, DeShawn Wynn should be able to get on track as well.
Georgia is again one of the best in the SEC and the nation. The Bulldogs are allowing just over 13 points per game, good for fifth nationally. Georgia is also very good at creating turnovers and have a +1.3 turnover margin per game. Big DT Kedrick Golston will be out for this game, which puts pressure on the reserves to step it up.
This game will come down to how well Florida protects Chris Leak and how well they can run the ball. Expect the Gators to line up with 8 in the box and dare Tereshinki to throw against them. Leonard Pope needs to come big for Georgia as he is a major mismatch against most anyone covering him. Georgia pulls out ahead early, but does not have the offensive firepower to comeback in a low scoring affair.
Florida 14 Georgia 10
Line: Tennessee -14.5
The Volunteers come into this game limping after a hard fought defeat handed to them by Alabama last week. Hard to believe, but Tennessee is now under .500 in the SEC with three conference games remaining, including Saturday nights tilt against South Carolina.
The Gamecocks are coming off a victory over pesky Vanderbilt 28-21 and have their eyes on a possible bowl game.
The Vols have struggled this year because of their lack of cohesion and shaky play from the quarterback position. Rick Clausen is expected to start again, but has not lived up to his second half performance against LSU earlier in the season. Sophomore Erik Ainge has been even worse in spelling Clausen. To make things worse, preseason Heisman candidate Gerald Riggs is out for the year. Tennessee is averaging just over 16 points per game on the season. On the flip side, the Volunteer D has played admirably despite not receiving much help from their offensive counterparts.
South Carolina has been improving each week under Spurrier’s system and is poised for an upset. QB Blake Mitchell is completing 64% of his passes on the season while throwing 11 touchdowns. The problem for South Carolina has been the running game, where they rank last in the SEC at just 86 yards per game. The defense has been solid led by safety Ko Simpson.
With Riggs out and Clausen not playing well, it is hard to imagine the Volunteers scoring more than 21 against a better than average defense. Also, the Volunteers are -0.67 in turnover margin this season. South Carolina does not have enough fire power on offense to win, but they should make this game relatively close.
Tennessee 21 South Carolina 13
Auburn vs Ole Miss 12:30 ET JP
Alabama vs Utah St 3:00 ET
Kentucky vs Miss St 7:00 ET
LSU vs North Texas 8:00 ET