Florida Gators vs Georgia Bulldogs (10/29/22 – 3:30 pm EDT)
Florida vs Georgia Overview
Well, what have we got here? It’s none other than one of the biggest SEC rivalries in college football with the Florida Gators taking on the Georgia Bulldogs at the TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. Both teams are coming off byes with the Gators’ last game a 45-35 loss to LSU back in Week 7 while the Bulldogs shut out Vanderbilt 55-0.
It can really suck to play in the loaded SEC when you’re just a mediocre team trying to get above .500 and make a bowl game. Of course, Florida has far bigger aspirations most years but they’re also a Top 25 team most seasons, and they weren’t even on the preseason Top 25 this time around. With the 29th-hardest schedule in college football, the Gators have gone 4-3 overall but an abysmal 1-3 in SEC play so far, putting them in fifth place in the SEC East division. Against the spread, Florida has gone 4-3 and 3-4 against the over/under so far.
The Gators opened the season on a high note with 29-26 defeat over Utah, a team that was ranked seventh in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25. After that they would lose to Kentucky, a big conference foe, but the bigger problem is that Florida would lose to Tennessee two weeks after that. When you add last week’s loss to LSU into the fold, the glaring issue with the Gators is they simply can’t beat any ranked opponents from their own conference. The only ranked team they defeated was the aforementioned Utah (currently 14th overall), and that was way back in Week 1.
As a team, Florida hasn’t stood out in many facets of the game with the exception of running the ball where they’re 16th in the country with 212.6 yards on the ground per contest. They’re a tough team to plan for in that regard because they attack you with their quarterback, Anthony Richardson, or running back Montrell Johnson Jr. who have combined for 822 running yards and 13 touchdowns. Richardson also leads the team in passing yards with 1,367 but is prone to interceptions as he’s thrown seven and only six TDs.
Georgia is the number one team in the country for many reasons. They’re the defending champions. They’re undefeated at 7-0 overall, including 4-0 in the SEC. They’ve got a dominant defense and a highly efficient quarterback to go with a productive backfield. Georgia looks every bit as good this season as they did last year when they made their championship run. After beating Vanderbilt two Saturdays ago, the Bulldogs sit at 4-3 against the spread and a depressing 1-5-1 versus the over/under.
As good as Georgia has been, they haven’t had the opportunity to play any ranked opponents since demolishing eighth-ranked Oregon 49-3 to open up the season. Out of their seven games thus far, most have been cake walks with the only close game coming against Missouri in Week 5. Since then the Bulldogs have had no problem discarding their last two opponents, beating Vanderbilt and Aubun by an average of 43.5 points while scoring a combined 97 points over those two games.
What makes this Georgia team so intimidating is its ability to overpower its opponents on both sides of the ball. On offense, senior quarterback Stetson Bennett leads the team in passing with 2,033 yards through the air, which is good for 17th in nationally. While he has only thrown seven TD passes, he only has one pick and has a fantastic 70.7 completion percentage. Behind him are several formidable backs that help the Bulldogs rack up 526.6 yards of offense per game, second overall. On defense, Georgia holds opponents to a mere 9.1 points a game, second-best in the country, and they only allow 247.1 yards of total offense per contest, which is fourth overall.
Free Pick – Georgia -22.5
It’s one thing that the Bulldogs have won four of the last five contests between these teams but this season they feel further apart in ability than last year when they beat the Gators 34-7 in Gainesville, Florida. With this game on neutral field in Jacksonville, that will be the one advantage Florida may have in this game. Otherwise, the Bulldogs should have their way with the Gators as their fourth-ranked run defense will stifle the one thing Florida does well. Once the Bulldogs shut down the run, it will force Richardson to throw and that will create several turn overs for Georgia to capitalize on. We’re taking Georgia -22.5.