The Auburn Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs meet in a rematch of the 2017 SEC Championship. It doesn’t feel that long ago that Auburn beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl, only to fall to Georgia in the SEC Championship. The loss kept Auburn out of the College Football Playoff, while Alabama got in and won the National Championship. Auburn played UCF in the Peach Bowl to lose that and has never really recovered. The Week 1 matchup against Washington looks pretty irrelevant at this point.
Then it looked like a prelude to the playoff. Fast forward to November and Auburn nor Washington are heading there no matter what they do the rest of the way. Auburn has already suffered 3 losses to LSU, Mississippi State, and Tennessee. The 22-21 loss to LSU, their first of the season back on September 15th was a real blow to this Tigers team. Frustration is certainly one word to describe it.
The loss to Tennessee was just poor play by Auburn, though. They have no excuses or reason to be frustrated about that. The Tigers have to win that game. I remember looking at the line in that game and thinking how it was kind of fishy. Tennessee not only covered as underdogs but won the game, 30-24. After that wake-up call, Auburn had wins over Ole Miss and Texas A&M.
Jarrett Stidham came into this season as a potential Heisman candidate, but he has struggled to get the attention of pro scouts this season. After throwing 12 touchdowns and 2 interceptions as a freshman at Baylor, Stidham played the part in his first-year after transferring. Stidham threw 18 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, along with 4 rushing touchdowns for Auburn last season.
It’s been a struggle for him to get going in what is an important season for an NFL audition. Georgia have already punched their ticket to the SEC Championship, so it’s about being crisp and keeping the momentum going forward. They also must be healthy if they want a shot at the upset over Alabama. The Bulldogs clinched with a 34-17 win over Kentucky last week. Their one loss of the year came against LSU, 36-16. Get our free Auburn vs. Georgia pick below.
Auburn Tigers vs. Georgia Bulldogs NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Georgia +14 (+105)
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Auburn vs. Georgia Pick:
Stidham hasn’t been awful, but he isn’t living up to his expectations in 2018. He certainly hasn’t been turning any heads or been a difference maker for the Tigers this season, which was the plans going into September. He’s tossed 10 touchdowns and 4 interceptions with a 60.6% completion rate. That’s down from 66.5% last season. He’s coming off a pretty nice start against Texas A&M, as he threw 2 touchdowns with no mistakes on the field.
In his previous three games, he’s thrown 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, so maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel for him. Stidham can do a lot to repair his damaged image with a sharp outing against Georgia. He will have to be on the lookout for Georgia corner, Deandre Baker, who is a ballhawk that can cause issues for opposing quarterbacks.
A lack of an elite running game has been hurting the Tigers this season. The loss of Kerryon Johnson to the NFL has been evident. Auburn have averaged 155.2 yards per game in 2018. The defense has been holding tough for the Tigers again this year, though. They’ve held opposing teams to just 17.3 points per game for 13th in the nation. The Tigers opened the year by frustrating Jake Browning and it has continued for the majority of the year.
The Auburn defense will face a tough test against D’Andre Swift. With Sony Michel and Nick Chubb providing a terrific 1-2 punch last season, Swift was waiting patiently in the wings. He has averaged 6.3 yards per carry with 622 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Jake Fromm, who looked like a senior as a freshman last season, has bolstered his resume with 17 touchdowns and 4 interceptions this season. I would expect the Auburn defense to be ready, though. Georgia and the Iron Bowl are going to be their biggest games the rest of the season. They likely come to play against a Georgia team who are coming off a SEC East clinching win last week. Georgia are not going to be completely hungover after the Kentucky win, but I think they coast too much to allow Auburn to stay around in this one. I’d look for Auburn to play as motivated as we’ve seen them since the win in Week 1 against Washington.