We have arrived at Rivalry Week in the college football calendar. This is the week that can get coaches fired or save their jobs that were hanging by a thread. These contests can bring out the pettiness in some of your favorite people. During this week, some couples don’t even talk to each other because are on opposing sides of these games.
Some of these games have trophies involved, some are a boarder war between states and others involve supremacy within the state, either way they contain a good measure of bad blood. This week Georgia and Georgia Tech both hope to finish their seasons on a high note. Neither team has a chance at making the playoff so the next best thing going into bowl season would be a win against the other. Each squad sitting at 7-4 a win that pushes them to 8 would have a significant effect on each school’s bowl selection.
The Bulldogs will host the Yellow Jackets today in Athens and are 4 point favorites against Tech. Today’s game will be 111th meeting between the schools. Georgia leads the all-time series 65-40-5 and has dominated it’s in state opponents in recent years, winning 13 of the last 15 contest.
Coach Paul Johnson will be leading Tech into this game for 9th time in his career. He is 2-6 in this series and would love to take the first game against new UGA Coach Kirby Smart. Smart is a first-time head but is no stranger to this rivalry as he is a former player for the Bulldogs. Smart takes over in Athens after the school fired long time coach Mark Richt at the end of last season. The Bulldog 2016 campaign has been met with mixed emotions as some fans were disappointed, while others are being patient with a new coach that has a true freshman quarterback. A big win today would inspire some good feelings for Kirby heading into next year.
If Johnson can get a 3rd win against Georgia in his 9th year it would be the perfect cap to what has been a rebound season for the Jackets who struggled to only 3 wins in 2015. Three victories in 9 years may not sound like a lot to some but in a lopsided rivalry like this one he would be one of the more successful coaches for Tech against their nemesis. Quarterback Justin Thomas wants to first quarterback at Tech to be the Bulldogs twice in his career since 1998-9 when Joe Hamilton accomplished that feat. There will be a lot on the line today.
The Bulldogs hope to get a good rushing game out of Nick Chubb. In what could be his last tilt with the Jackets Chubb could push his season total over 1,000 yards with a 100 yard outing today. The Jackets of course will try to take advantage of the fact that Kirby Smart’s staff may not be as familiar with Johnson’s triple option attack and get Tech rolling and open some passing lanes for Thomas. Another question mark in the game is can freshman Jacob Eason throw the ball efficiently enough to keep Tech’s defense honest.
Prediction: Georgia 24 Georgia Tech 21
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter Keith’s Twitter