The Texas Longhorns are massive underdogs coming into their game with the Georgia Bulldogs on New Year’s Day. Texas is almost a two-touchdown underdog, and the Longhorns know they will have their work cut out for them if they hope to defeat Georgia. The Bulldogs are seen as the third-best team in the country according to many power ratings, while the Longhorns are viewed as an above average team after going 9-4 in the Big 12. An upset win for Texas here would mean a lot for the Big 12’s reputation going forward.
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Georgia did what it needed to do for the first half of the season until a 20-point loss to LSU meant the Bulldogs needed to win out if they had any hope of making the College Football Playoff. The Bulldogs shifted into another gear after the loss, thrashing rivals Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech, and they had no problem with Kentucky either. They won all those games by at least 17 points, and they were a very live dog coming into the SEC Championship Game. Georgia looked like it would finally get the monkey off its back and beat Bama, but instead the Bulldogs suffered another crushing defeat.
Texas was the least impressive of the teams playing in a New Year’s Six bowl. The Longhorns had problems with most of their Big 12 opponents throughout the year, and they even lost to a bad Maryland team in their season opener. They lost to both Oklahoma State and West Virginia, and they only beat Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, and Tulsa by one score. However, they made it here by knocking off Oklahoma earlier in the season in the Red River Showdown and a win over Iowa State essentially sealed a bid.
Matchup to Watch
For the Longhorns to pull off the upset, they are going to have to find a way to stop Georgia’s running game. It’s no secret that Georgia wants to pound the ball with its new stable of running backs as much as possible and Jake Fromm is deadly on play action if the running game is in a groove. The Longhorns have had some trouble stopping the run this year against balanced teams though, and that’s a cause for concern.
Player to Watch
Sam Ehlinger is going to have to find a way to move the ball against this defense too. Georgia is probably going to be able to stop Texas’ running backs from getting going, but Ehlinger is a dual-threat quarterback unlike what the Bulldogs have seen before. He is a hard-nosed runner that doesn’t mind contact, and that helps open up things with his arm. He is likely to look in Lil’Jordan Humphrey’s direction often with Georgia’s star cornerback Deandre Baker questionable to play.
Live Betting Preview
I can’t quite pull the trigger on a Texas upset, but this line is too high. Motivation plays a big part during bowl season, and while Georgia is a much better team than Texas on paper, there is a question of how focused Georgia will be. Many Bulldogs are going to get selected in the NFL Draft, and some might be looking ahead to that, while others may not have shaken the Alabama loss just yet. Texas is talented and well-coached enough to keep this one close and earn the cover. The over is a good play too.
NCAA Football Odds: Georgia 38, Texas 30
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