Here is your primer for Saturday’s game between No. 1 Georgia and No. 10 Auburn.
Kickoff time: 3:30 p.m.
TV: CBS (Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson, Allie LaForce)
Local radio: Macon — 106.3 FM; Columbus — 1460 AM/100.1 FM; Athens — 960 AM/106.1 FM; Atlanta — 750 AM/95.5 FM (Scott Howard, Eric Zeier, Chuck Dowdle)
Weather: At kickoff, it is expected to be in the mid-60s. Once the sun sets, the temperature will be in the high 50s. Wind speeds are projected to be only around 5 mph.
Betting line: Georgia -2.5
Georgia coaches: Head coach Kirby Smart, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, special teams coordinator Shane Beamer.
Auburn coaches: Head coach Gus Malzahn, offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey, defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, special teams coordinator Tim Horton.
Series history: Georgia and Auburn have met 120 prior times, dating back to 1892, hence why this game is called the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. Georgia holds a slight 57-55-8 advantage in the series, which includes wins in the past three games.
Last meeting: Then-unranked Georgia picked up a 13-7 upset over then-No. 9 Auburn at Sanford Stadium a year ago. Georgia’s lone touchdown in the game came on a pick-six from defensive back Maurice Smith, who is now with the Miami Dolphins.
Georgia’s season thus far: Georgia (9-0, 6-0 SEC) has posted three-score wins in seven of its nine games. It did face a tougher-than-expected test from South Carolina last week, coming away with a 24-10 win. The Bulldogs only led by 11 entering the fourth quarter, which was a stark contrast to most of the other games in their season. Georgia’s best win came in Week 2 when it defeated No. 3 Notre Dame 20-19. The Bulldogs also posted a 41-0 win over Tennessee, a 45-14 win over Vanderbilt and a 42-7 victory over Florida.
Auburn’s season thus far: Auburn (7-2, 5-1) has dropped two games to ranked opponents by a combined margin of 12 points. While the Auburn defense excelled against Clemson, it allowed 11 sacks in a 14-6 loss. Up 20-0 on LSU, Auburn was the victim of a furious comeback and dropped that game 27-23. Outside of a closer-than-expected 24-10 win over Mercer, Auburn has been able to score a bunch on its other opponents, which includes last week’s 42-27 win over Texas A&M.
Georgia’s key offensive players: RB Nick Chubb, RB Sony Michel, QB Jake Fromm, WR Terry Godwin
Georgia’s key defensive players: ILB Roquan Smith, OLB Lorenzo Carter, OLB Davin Bellamy, S J.R. Reed
Auburn’s key offensive players: RB Kerryon Johnson, QB Jarrett Stidham, WR Ryan Davis, OL Braden Smith
Auburn’s key defensive players: LB Deshaun Davis, DL Derrick Brown, DL Dontavius Russell, S Tray Matthews
The key for Georgia: Georgia must continue to generate a push up front to get the ground game going. Georgia has been excellent in this department all season long but will face its toughest defensive front since Notre Dame. If Georgia can hit some big plays on the ground and churn out first downs, without turning the ball over, it could find itself in great shape late in the fourth quarter.
The key for Auburn: Auburn must be able to hit some big plays through the air against Georgia’s defense. The Georgia front seven will look to key in on Johnson and the rushing attack, which could open up some man-to-man situations on the outside for Jarrett Stidham to possibly target. In addition, if the Tigers can limit big plays from Georgia’s running backs, then this game could be tight late.
What a win means for Georgia: Georgia would not only stay No. 1 in the College Football Rankings, but likely make a major push at taking that spot in the AP and coaches poll, given Auburn’s standing at No. 10. It would also, obviously, be one step closer to recording its first undefeated regular season since 1982.
What a win means for Auburn: Given that Auburn has Georgia and Alabama left on its schedule, the Tigers have the best chance of any two-loss team to get into the College Football Playoff. A win would keep that hope alive. Of course, in this scenario, Auburn would have to beat Georgia Saturday, defeat Alabama in two weeks and then outlast Georgia again in the SEC title game.