LSU Tigers vs. Georgia Bulldogs
The Georgia Bulldogs and the LSU Tigers face off on Saturday in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta. The Tigers are -10 point favorites over the Bulldogs with an over/under point total set at 45.
While we often talk about the most improved teams on a year to year basis if we looked at teams who have improved the most over the course of the year the list would have to include Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs. After losing their first two games Georgia has reeled off 10 consecutive wins and won the SEC East. On an improved team QB Aaron Murray has to be one of the most improved players for the Bulldogs as he looks to have grasped the offense and for the season he has completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,698 yards with 32 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. It’s been on the job training for All-World freshman Isaiah Crowell who averaged 4.8 yards per carry rushing for 832 yards and scoring five touchdowns while missing two games including last week against Georgia Tech as he has an ankle injury but Carlton Thomas is averaging 5.2 yards per carry and scoring twice. Murray spreads his passes well among the UGA receivers and Orson Charles has 40 catches and five touchdowns, Tavarres King has 37 catches and seven touchdowns, Malcolm Mitchell has 34 catches and four touchdowns, and Michael Bennett has 31 catches and five touchdowns. Defensively the Dawgs have intercepted 17 passes, recovered 12 fumbles, and have 32 sacks for a plus 10 turnover differential. Jarvis Jones has 66 tackles and 13.5 sacks, Michale Gilliard has 63 tackles, two sacks and an interception, and Baccari Rambo has seven interceptions. Georgia appears to be peaking at the right time and they will find out exactly how good they are in this game.
While we have seen some dominating college football teams over the years the LSU Tigers are just two wins away of putting themselves among the elite teams of all time. While Les Miles’ Tigers have trailed a few times this season, it hasn’t been for long and it hasn’t been by much as their results have been convincing win after convincing win. Jordan Jefferson is clearly the starter at QB at this point and while passing isn’t really his strength he has completed 64.3 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and one interception and he is averaging 4.6 yards per run with three touchdowns. LSU’s running game has been nothing short of sensational this season using a rotation of running backs with Michael Ford averaging 6.2 yards per carry and scoring seven touchdowns, Spencer Ware averaging 4.1 yards per carry and scoring eight touchdowns, and as of late Kenny Hilliard has been seeing plenty of action averaging 5.1 yards per carry and scoring six touchdowns. Rueben Randle is the star of the LSU receivers with 48 catches and eight touchdowns and Odell Beckham, Jr. with 37 catches and two touchdowns. The Tigers defense has been sensational with 16 interceptions, 11 fumble recoveries, and 33 sacks for a plus 19 turnover margin. Tyrann Mathieu is the leader of the defense with 66 tackles, Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo have eight sacks each, and Morris Claiborne has five interceptions. It’s clear this is a special team for LSU but they still have work left to do to close the deal.
Georgia is 4-1 against the spread against a team with a winning record, 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games overall, and 5-2 against the spread in their last seven SEC games. LSU is 7-1 against the spread against a team with a winning record, 6-0 against the spread in their last six SEC games, and 6-2-1 against the spread in their last nine SEC games.
While we have some solid defenses here and the SEC is historically a defensive conference the total which has been set at 45 looks to be just a bit too low in this one.