No. 5 Georgia (11-2) and No. 8 Baylor (11-2) meet at the Sugar Bowl on January 1st. Play time is set for 8:45 pm ET at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Georgia secured a third consecutive season with at least 11 wins under Kirby Smart, but still ended the 2019 season on a sudden note, losing 37-10 to top-ranked LSU in the SEC championship game. A win would have sent the Bulldogs to the Academy Football Playoff as seed no. 3.
MORE: Get the latest NCAA odds and bet tips on Sports Insider
Baylor is in a similar boat to the Bulldogs, who just missed the playoffs with two losses in Oklahoma’s 4th seed – the regular season and the Big 12 title game – by a combined 10 points. It may be a little comforting for Coach of the Year Matt Rhule and Co, but a win in the Sugar Bowl would set an hour-long win record at 12.
With this, Sporting News offers a timely preview of the sugar bowl between bulldogs and bears:
Georgia vs. Georgia Baylor yields for the 2020 sugar bowl
- Hearsay: Agriculture -6
- Total points: 41
- Monoyline: Georgia -240, Baylor +200
Georgia is one of the 6 spots you prefer according to Sports Insider. the line opened at -6.5 in favor of the Bulldogs.
Georgia vs. Baylor of all time
Georgia and Baylor met four times between 1972 and 1989, all in the regular season, with Georgia winning all four. The Bears are 1-0 all-time in the Sugar Bowl, winning their only game against No. 2 Tennessee on January 1, 1957; Georgia is 4-6, its last win coming in a 41-10 demolition of No. 10 Hawaii on January 1, 2008.
Three trends we need to know
– The Bulldogs are 7-5 this season against the spread when favored. The Bears are perfect 4-0 against the spread as an outsider.
– Georgia has been 3-1 against the spread of puppetry since Kirby Smart took over in 2016 and 9-3 in neutral games. Baylor are 1-0 and 3-1 against the spread under these conditions, respectively, since Rhule took over in 2017.
– The Bulldogs are 3-2 in cup games (including the Rose Bowl and Playoff Championship 2017) in the last four seasons. Baylor is 3-0.
MORE: Soccer football collects, forecasts
Three things to look out for
The energy of Georgia
This time last year, a supposedly frustrated Georgia team showed up in New Orleans and was run by a Texas team that was all waiting for the Bulldogs to win. The general consensus was that Georgia did not want to be in the game as it was not the Playoff: an excuse that no longer ceases to be in the Playoff era. Will the Bulldogs have a different perspective this time after an embarrassing defeat at LSU in the SEC title game?
Attack on Georgia against Baylor’s defense
The Bears have arrived for the defense this year, impressive considering they play in the Big 12. But how do they come to terms with a rushing attack on Georgia featuring D’Andre Swift (1,216 yards, 6.2 yards per carry, seven touchdowns) , Brian Herrien (490 yards, 4.8 ypc, six touchdowns) and Zamir White (316 yards, 5.2 ypc, three touchdowns); Baylor leaves an average of 133.8 steps per game and the Bears should tighten Georgia if they do not want to gas in the fourth quarter.
Charlie Brewer’s regime
Brewer is the focus of the Bear offense this year, completing 227 of 348 passes for 2,950 yards, 20 touchdowns and six interceptions all season. His status in the Sugar Bowl is unknown, however, after leaving the Big 12 Championship with a concussion. His backups, Jacob Zeno and Gerry Bohanon, combined to complete 6 of 21 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns without interference. If any of them end up getting started with Georgia, you can expect Kirby Smart to call for pressure to force some puffs.
MORE: Expert Strategy Tips Three Value Options
Stat that matters
Jake Fromm was effective this season – not spectacular – completing 60.3% of his passes for 2,610 yards, 22 touchdowns and five interceptions. But in the Bulldogs’ two losses to South Carolina and LSU, Fromm was 48 of 93 (51.6%) for 520 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions. If he struggles early against a Baylor defense that has given up 13 touchdowns and forced 17 interceptions, it could be a long game for the Bulldogs.
Agriculture vs. Baylor Forecast
Georgia and Baylor both know about grind-it-out games, winning nine games in a single possession. Expect things to start slowly as each team gets a feel for the other; Georgia will come to the table first before Baylor finds a way to tie it at halftime. It will also be tight in the second half, with both defensive forces forcing turnovers, but Fromm will make enough plays to make one last touchdown for Georgia’s impressive attack. This will seal a game that is closer than the rating indicates.
Georgia 34, Baylor 23