Sometimes a big game really isn’t.
No. 1 Georgia faces No. 11 Kentucky on Saturday, the third straight game for the Bulldogs against a ranked Southeastern Conference opponent.
Georgia won the first two games by a combined score of 71-10, and the oddsmakers don’t expect this one to be all that much closer.
After being favored by 18 1/2 points against Arkansas and by 15 1/2 at Auburn, the Bulldogs are now more than a three-touchdown favorite against Kentucky, the only other unbeaten team in the SEC.
Seems a bit dismissive of the Wildcats, who the past two weeks have taken down traditional SEC heavyweights Florida and LSU at home.
Really, it’s a statement about Georgia’s early season dominance, especially on defense. The Bulldogs are currently allowing 5.5 points per game. The last major college football team to allow fewer points per game over a full season was Alabama in 1979 at 5.3.
At 3.60 yards per play allowed, Georgia is on a pace to have the best mark in that category since Alabama in 2011 (3.32).
There is still half a regular season left for Georgia that includes some of the better offenses in the SEC such as Florida, Missouri and an improving Tennessee. An SEC championship matchup with Alabama’s powerful offense is also still very possible if not likely.
Still, Georgia’s defense, anchored by massive tackles Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter, has been an unrelenting monster.
As for Kentucky, the Wildcats are positioned to have one the best seasons in school history. They will get be greeted in Athens, Georgia, by ESPN’s “College GameDay” and will play in the SEC’s premier TV position on CBS at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
The rankings and records warrant the hype, but it will take a monumental effort by the Wildcats for the game to live up to it.
The picks with lines provide by FanDuel Sportsbook:
California (plus 13 1/2) at No. 9. Oregon
Ducks had an open date to stew over that loss to Stanford and get healthy … OREGON 31-20.
No. 24 San Diego State (minus 8 1/2) at San Jose State
Defensive-minded Aztecs looking for first 6-0 start since 2017 … SAN DIEGO STATE 17-13.
No. 11 Kentucky (plus 21 1/2) at No. 1 Georgia
Bulldogs have won 11 straight meetings … GEORGIA 31-10.
Purdue (plus 11 1/2) at No. 2 Iowa
Boilermakers have not cracked 13 points in any of their last three games … IOWA 26-13.
UCF (plus 21 1/2) at No. 3 Cincinnati
Knights passing game has fallen apart since the injury to QB Dillon Gabriel … CINCINNATI 34-17.
TCU (plus 13 1/2) at No. 4 Oklahoma
Spencer Rattler or Caleb Williams at quarterback for the Sooners? The answer seems obvious but coach Lincoln Riley has been coy … OKLAHOMA 41-23.
No. 5 Alabama (minus 17 1/2) at Mississippi State
Tide has not lost consecutive regular-season games since 2007, Nick Saban’s first season as coach … ALABAMA 38-17.
No. 10 Michigan State (minus 4 1/2) at Indiana
Spartans RB Kenneth Walker III leads the nation in rushing and has more runs of at least 10 yards (26) than any player in the country … MICHIGAN STATE 28-21, BEST BET.
No. 12 Oklahoma State (plus 5 1/2) at No. 25 Texas
Can the Cowboys and the Big 12’s best defense keep the Longhorns down after a crushing Red River collapse? … TEXAS 27-23.
No. 13 Mississippi (minus 2 1/2) at Tennessee
Rebels’ Lane Kiffin returns to Knoxville as a head coach for the first time since his one season leading the Vols in 2009 … MISSISSIPPI 45-35.
Auburn (plus 3 1/2) at No. 17. Arkansas
Tigers have won five straight in the series … ARKANSAS 27-26.
No. 18 Arizona State (plus 1/2) at Utah
Sun Devils can take a commanding lead in the Pac-12 South … ARIZONA STATE 28-23.
No. 19 BYU (plus 5 1/2) at Baylor
Bears offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes was with BYU the last three seasons and has turned around Baylor’s offense … BAYLOR 27-24.
No. 20 Florida (minus 10 1/2) at LSU
How much fight is left in the Tigers? … FLORIDA 35-23.
No. 21 Texas A&M (minus 9 1/2) at Missouri
Tigers have won seven of the last nine meetings, but the former Big 12 rivals have only played three times since joining the SEC and not since 2014 … TEXAS A&M 35-23.
No. 22. NC State (minus 3 1/2) at Boston College
Is the right team favored here? … BOSTON COLLEGE 24-20, UPSET SPECIAL.
Nebraska (minus 3 1/2) at Minnesota — @KobiRugby
Gophers have lost their top two tailbacks to injury … NEBRASKA 21-14.
Arizona (plus 6 1/2) at Colorado — @davesouthorn
Wildcats won’t have a better opportunity to snap the nation’s longest losing streak at 17 games … ARIZONA 21-17.
Louisiana Tech (minus 6 1/2) at UTEP @shawn_bubba
You might not have noticed, but the Miners are 5-1 for the first time since 2010 .. UTEP 27-26.
Last week: 13-10 straight; 12-11 against the spread.
Season: 93-48 straight; 77-64 against the spread.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com
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