In less than 24 hours, the Georgia college football season will be over after tomorrow’s game with the UCF Golden Knights in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. The match-up will feature the two best freshman quarterbacks statistically in the country this year in Georgia’s Aaron Murray and UCF’s Jeff Godfrey. A.J. Green’s and Justin Houston’s possible final game in a Bulldog uniform will be the other main storyline for the game.
When Georgia Has the Ball
UCF will likely have no answer for the best receiver in college football, A.J. Green, and will be forced to roll coverage his way on every snap of the game. With that attention, the Georgia offense will have opportunities for other players to make plays both through the air and on the ground. Look for Orson Charles to have opportunities to make big plays against the UCF linebackers and safeties. While UCF has been pretty good on defense throughout the year, I don’t think they will have the depth of talent especially in the back seven to control a Georgia offense that has averaged over 40 PPG and 400 YPG since Green’s return from suspension. I look for the Georgia offense to top 30 points easily for the eighth consecutive game tomorrow.
When UCF Has the Ball
The Georgia defense once again faces a spread team with a good running game led by a mobile quarterback. As everyone following this Georgia team knows, that formula could spell trouble tomorrow. The ability to get penetration and make sure tackles in space is necessary for the Georgia defense to get stops and get off the field. Alec Ogletree has matured throughout the year and looks to be the next superstar for the Dawgs at the safety position following in the footsteps of Thomas Davis, Sean Jones, Jermaine Phillips, and Greg Blue. If the Dawgs’ defense can force a couple of turnovers and get off the field consistently on 3rd and long, I think we’ll be OK.
What Will Happen
Georgia’s edge at the skilled positions and the pressure on UCF to keep up with one of the SEC’s best offenses bode well for a Georgia victory tomorrow afternoon. As I mentioned in my early preview, mid-majors looking at Georgia as their coming-out party have typically been in for a surprise when dealing with upper-echelon SEC speed and skill (Boise State ’05 and Hawaii ’07). I think this game will be no different as Georgia cruises to a victory and begins to prepare for life without A.J. and possibly Justin Houston.
Final Score: Georgia 45, UCF 24.
I would like to read your thoughts in the comments below. I’ll be back soon with my preview of a couple of games involving SEC teams including the BCS national championship game. Also, I’ll plan to go back through the season with a look back to my pre-season predictions.