The SEC’s week two features one of the biggest games anywhere in the country. The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry will see its 125th meeting on Sunday. Athens will play home to College Gameday, as the Auburn Tigers come to town to face the Georgia Bulldogs.
During the first 124 meetings, Georgia leads the series 60-56-8 and have won the last three meetings. This year’s meeting should be one of the best in recent years. Both teams come in at 1-0 and look to pick up a big win early in the season.
Georgia vs Auburn Preview
Both teams are arguably best on the defensive side of the ball. Last season, Georgia had the best scoring defense in the nation. Auburn also had a top 20 defensive unit with the 17th best scoring defense. The game will be decided by the team’s two defenses and which one can step up and play better. Georgia has the type of defense that can stifle most offenses. Georgia comes in with three preseason All-SEC first-team players in Jordan Davis, Malik Herring, and Richard LeCounte. LeCounte is also the only preseason all-American in this matchup. Georgia’s Monty Rice and Eric Stokes were also second-team All-SEC players. For the Tigers, KJ Britt and Big Cat Bryant make up their two selections to the All-SEC first or second team.
Last week, Georgia held Arkansas to 10 points and only one score per half. On the other side of things, Auburn held a talented Kentucky Wildcats team to just 13 points. Auburn has all the tools to really make this a great game. Their defense has been good for some time and their offense is really coming along as well.
The QB Duel
One of these two teams has an obvious starter. The Auburn Tigers will be relying on their sophomore quarterback Bo Nix to take snaps under center. Nix kicked his sophomore campaign off in that win over Kentucky. He racked up three touchdowns with no interceptions, as well as a QB Rating of 168.4. Nix’s number one target in the opener was also his number one target last season. Junior wide receiver Seth Williams hauled in six catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns against the Wildcats.
On the other side, things are not so certain. Georgia has three legitimate options at quarterback. As of right now, no one besides Kirby Smart truly has any idea which of the three will get the start against Auburn. Last week’s starter D’Wan Mathis, last week’s relief quarterback Stetson Bennett and USC transfer JT Daniels are all options on the table for the Bulldogs. Mathis, admittedly, did not look his best in his debut, but neither did most of the players around him. Bennett looked good against the Razorbacks but has the lowest ceiling of the three quarterbacks. Daniels was just cleared to play this week and has been the suspected front runner since Jamie Newman opted out. Do not be surprised to see any of those three guys start the game.
This should easily be the best game of the week. Auburn and Georgia will likely be around the top of their divisions come the end of the season and both will be looking to score a big early-season win over one of their biggest rivals. For Auburn, Nix and Williams will have to play well against a dominant defense to get Auburn into a good spot. For Georgia, the defense will have to step up to stop a new and improved offense, while the offense gets things going through the air, on the ground, or both.