College Football Picks: Georgia Will Bounce Back to Win in High-Scoring Game vs. Tennessee

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, October 8, 2015 8:17 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015 8:17 PM UTC

Very crucial game in the SEC East Division on Saturday in Knoxville. Georgia visits a vastly disappointing Tennessee team. A loss would be a killer for both. Check our college football picks inside.

Vols Can't Hold Big Leads
I guess you would have to say Auburn is the most disappointing team in the SEC as the Tigers were preseason No. 6 and are last in the SEC West at 0-2. But second on that disappointing list is Tennessee as the Vols are 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the conference after being projected as the top contender to Georgia in the SEC East.

I'm not sure if the Vols were just overrated or they are incredibly unlucky as they could be 5-0. In Week 2, they totally gagged away a win against No. 19 Oklahoma, 31-24 in double overtime. Tennessee was up 17-0 in the first 18 minutes of the game and still led 17-3 in the fourth quarter. It was UT's 28th loss in the past 29 games against ranked teams and it is now 2-34 vs. the Top 25 since 2008. Two weeks ago, the Vols lost in even more painful fashion, 28-27 at Florida. The Gators converted a fourth-and-14 into a 63-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Callaway with 1:26 left in the game. The Vols led that one 27-14 with under five minutes left.

And then last Saturday, UT lost 24-20 to equally desperate  Arkansas in Knoxville. The Vols had a 14-0 first-quarter lead in that one. The Hogs had dropped 10 straight games decided by seven points or less. Tennessee fumbled in the red zone in the second quarter and had Alvin Kamara's 71-yard touchdown on a punt return nullified by a block in the back later in the first half. UT also missed a 28-yard field goal.

So what's the problem here? It is a very young team as 17 freshmen have seen time. Butch Jones is a stellar recruiter but there are many questioning some of his in-game coaching decisions -- some have been puzzling. Jones might be in a bit of hot water soon if the Vols lose here and then next week at Alabama. It's possible this team doesn't even make a bowl game.

Tennessee made news this week in dismissing senior starting receiver Pig Howard from the team for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Howard, last season's leading receiver, missed the last two games due to a concussion. He also missed the season opener against Bowling Green due to a suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Howard's 112 receptions in four seasons place him in a tie for 12th on the program's all-time list.

UT is 2-3 against the spread this season on college football odds and 3-2 'over/under.'


Tide Put Dawgs Down
Georgia (4-1, 1-1) still controls its destiny to win the SEC East despite last week's shockingly one-sided 38-10 home loss to Alabama. The Dawgs couldn't slow Tide tailback Derrick Henry, who had 148 yards on the ground and scored on a 30-yard run that put Alabama ahead to stay midway through the second quarter. Starting Dawgs QB Greyson Lambert, who entered the game red-hot, was pulled late in the first half but went back in after backup Brice Ramsey threw a pick that was returned 50 yards for a score. Lambert was just 10-for-24 for 86 yards with a pick. Heisman Trophy candidate Nick Chubb did show up, rushing 20 times for 146 yards and a score. He was really the only one who did.

The pressure is on Coach Mark Richt as Georgia is always pretty good but generally underachieves. It has been 10 years since Richt led Georgia to an SEC title. The Dawgs are 14-21 against ranked opponents since 2008. Still, a win here could set up a potential SEC East de facto title game in Jacksonville against Florida on Halloween. Georgia's only true SEC road game remaining after this is at Auburn on Nov. 14. Any loss here ends a shot at the College Football Playoff.

Two Georgia offensive starters are questionable for this game. Receiver Isaiah McKenzie, also the team’s top punt and kick returner, re-injured his hamstring last week. This season as a punt returner, McKenzie has totaled 119 yards and a touchdown. His score came on a 77-yard punt return against Vanderbilt. McKenzie also has five catches for 89 yards. Center Brandon Kublanow sprained his ankle against the Tide but is looking good to play.

Georgia is 2-3 against the spread on college football picks and 2-3 O/U.


Last Meeting
Last year in Athens, No. 12 Georgia beat Tennessee 35-32; the Dawgs were 19-point favorites and the total was set at 57. Former Georgia running back Todd Gurley rushed for 208 yards and two scores. His 51-yard score with 9:31 left was big, giving Georgia a 28-17 lead. The Vols quickly closed within three, but UGA took a 35-25 lead when UT tailback Jalen Hurd fumbled in his own end zone and it was recovered by Josh Dawson. Hurd rushed 24 times for 119 yards and a score. Current Vols starting QB Joshua Dobbs didn't play a snap in that game. Chubb had 11 carries for 32 yards. Georgia has won five straight in the series overall.

College Football Picks: Georgia -2.5 & Over 59.5  at Heritage

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