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Week 5 – Tennessee at Georgia
Posted Sep 27, 2012

Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction – Tennessee at Georgia

Tennessee (3-1) at Georgia (4-0) Sept. 29, 3:30, CBS

Here’s The Deal: Now it’s time to see just how real Georgia is. Florida already showed what it could do against Tennessee, and now it’s the Dawgs’ turn. On the flip side, if the Vols want to get into the SEC title chase, now is the time to step up and step in.

Georgia has won three of the last four in the series against a down UT program, but with a high-powered passing game, a decent ground attack, and just enough talent to be able to hang around with the SEC big boys, the Volunteers are back to being relevant again. However, they failed their first big conference test two weeks ago getting powered over by Florida, and with trips to Mississippi State and South Carolina in the next few weeks wrapped around the date with Alabama, all the promise and all the hope for a big turnaround year could quickly go bu-bye without a couple of big victories. Taking down a very, very good Georgia team would be the biggest win yet for Derek Dooley, and while no one thinks the Vols are going to win the SEC East, this is the time to show that everything is on the right track.

Georgia might just be scratching the surface. Able to get through the first part of the schedule, now the team gets the suspended stars back in the secondary just as the offense is starting to hit its stride. Everything is coming together at the right time, and while there are flaws – the O line might be merely average and the punting game stinks – it’s time to start thinking that this could be the year the program finally gets back over the hump.

The Dawgs steamrolled past Vanderbilt and used a great fourth quarter to blow off Missouri, but now the real work begins. This is one of two home games between now and the middle of November, and while going to Kentucky and facing Ole Miss shouldn’t be a problem, this week is a must-win with road games at South Carolina and Auburn, and the rivalry date with Florida, looming.

Why Tennessee Might Win: There’s a chance the Vols can take what Missouri started and make it better. Tiger quarterback James Franklin didn’t do much of anything in the fourth quarter, but early on he was able to bomb away a bit finishing with 269 yards and two touchdowns. When he wasn’t wearing Georgia superstar pass rusher Jarvis Jones as a hat, he was able to spread the ball around and connect on a few nice plays down the field. Missouri’s receivers are good and Franklin is great, but Tyler Bray and the Vol receivers are better.

The other big difference is that Tennessee is better in pass protection than Missouri, and Bray gets the ball out of his hands faster. The Vol O line has improved by leaps and bounds from last year allowing just two sacks so far and giving the offense time to operate. There’s a real, live running game to count on, and Bray has been terrific so far coming off a 401-yard, four score effort against Akron and with 310 yards or more in three of his first four games. He threw for 251 against Georgia last year before getting hurt.

Why Georgia Might Win: The secondary is back together. It might take a little while to shake the rust off, and it’s not like the pass defense has been a disaster so far, but the return of safety Bacarri Rambo from his four game suspension for a positive substance test instantly upgrades the talent level. With all the other suspended defensive backs in the fold now, and with the expected return of linebacker Alec Ogletree from his suspension, all of a sudden the defense that has been fine so far appears to be ready to take things to a whole other level.

On the other side of the ball, yes, Tennessee has the marquee talent and the flashy passing game, but Aaron Murray and the Georgia offense has been even better with a league-leading 530 yards and 47.5 points per game. This is a machine with the running Todd Gurley a key spark and with Murray playing lights-out so far with ten touchdown passes and just two interceptions. Tennessee will be able to hit on a few big plays at times, but it won’t have the balance or the ability to do what the Dawgs can.

What To Watch Out For: Justin Hunter and Corderrelle Patterson have been fantastic so far lighting up the Volunteer passing game, and while they might be the receiving stars who’ll get all the attention, Georgia’s Marlon Brown should be able to make some noise of his own. The senior caught eight passes for 106 yards and two scores against Missouri, and lit up Vanderbilt last week for 114 yards and a score on five grabs. Finally playing up to his tremendous prep hype after struggling to make a big impact throughout his career and having problems last season with a bad ankle, the 6-5, 222-pounder is putting it all together and finishing his career with a flourish.

Trying to keep the Georgia passing game in check is Tennessee junior safety Byron Moore, a former JUCO transfer from Los Angeles Harbor CC who has decent size and a nose for the ball with 30 tackles in first four games. He started out the year with a pick against NC State, and last week he came up with two interceptions against Vanderbilt. br/>
What Will Happen: This is where Georgia starts to flex a little bit of muscle. Bray will be hot early, but the Dawgs will pull away in the second half with excellent offensive balance and stellar play from Murray, who’ll outplay his counterpart.

CFN Prediction: Georgia 38 … Tennessee 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Georgia -13.5 O/U: 61.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ryder Cup 2012, 1 – SNL Thursday Weekend Update): 4