In less than 24 hours Georgia and Auburn face off for the 128th time in the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry and it will shock the college football world if Auburn manages to pull off the upset.
When talking about the rivalry between Auburn and Georgia Coach Hugh Freeze said, “I hope we compete because we love Auburn, and it means something to the Auburn people to compete against Georgia.” It certainly feels that way for fans of the rivalry, considering how one-sided the rivalry has felt in the past ten years.
Headed into this Saturday’s game, Auburn is on a six-game losing streak to Georgia and has only won one of the last ten games played between the two schools (November 11, 2017). So, the Tigers certainly have a massive challenge ahead of them if they want to defeat the #1 team in the country and two-time defending national champions.
One immediate advantage that the Auburn Tigers have is the fact that Georgia has not played a single road game all seasons. It poses a distinct challenge for Georgia, but Auburn fans need to be ready to cheer on the Tigers so that the energy in the stadium is prime for an Auburn victory.
Even though it is Georgia’s first road game, that does not mean they still won’t have the talent and experience that people have come to expect from the Georgia Bulldogs and both the Auburn Tiger’s defense and offense need to put in the work for an Auburn Victory.
One of the things that both sides of the ball need to work on is the number of penalties. Hugh Freeze noted, "You can’t have 10 penalties though, for whatever reason” and “that’s not typically who we are, and we got to get that cleaned up.” If Auburn even wants a chance at victory, they need to work on the number of penalties, it gives Georgia free yards on offense when a defensive penalty occurs and takes away progress from Auburn’s offense when an offensive penalty occurs.
In terms of the offense, it will be a struggle, with Georgia allowing an average of 11.25 points per game and Auburn averaging 10 points per game against Power-5 schools. Against Texas A&M Auburn’s offense struggled and Hugh Freeze said it best, “It's a combination of things. But ultimately, like I said, it lies with us, the coaching staff, to get those things fixed.” If Auburn wants a chance at victory, they must fix some, if not all their offensive struggles.
With the defense, there is less to worry about since they have been consistent the whole season allowing opponents an average of 16 points per game. However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing to worry about since the Georgia offense is averaging 41.5 points per game, and with injuries to the Auburn secondary the defense is going to have their work cut out for them.
Despite CBS having Georgia as the 14.5-point favorite to win the game, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Georgia will win the game. Hugh Freeze certainly said it best, “I've never walked into a game thinking we can't win it, and they shouldn't either,” and there are hundreds of examples of the underdog winning, that’s why some people watch sports not to see the favorite win, but to see the underdog win.
So, tune in tomorrow at 2:30 pm CT on CBS to see the Auburn Tigers hopefully defeat the #1 Georgia Bulldogs in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.