Auburn-Georgia Preview

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 9:01 PM | 0 comments »

Rivalries take on a meaning of their own. Usually, there is a heap of bad blood between the two teams that make up the rivalry. In the 111 meetings between the Tigers and the Bulldogs, it is more than just a rivalry.

Sure there is the heat of the moment, the want of a win, but these two schools are much closer than just the 45 points that separates the two teams. This rivalry takes on more of a sibling rivalry, brother vs. brother.

It seems when college football was born, it was destiny that Auburn and Georgia meet. The friendship shared by Auburn coach Cliff Hare and Georgia coach Charles Herty back in the old days not only symbolized the bond between the two schools, but one of the reasons college football is big in the Deep South.

Many Auburn coaches were and have been former Bulldogs (Pat Dye as a famous example), and Bulldog coaches being former Tigers (Vince Dooley as a famous example). There is mounds of history between these two schools, and you could get lost in just reading up on the old news clippings and highlight reels.

However, all is not pleasant for both squads. Georgia (8-2) and Auburn (5-5) have fallen on hard times this season. Both teams were expecting to play each other again in the SEC Championship, but two key losses to Georgia and chaos that has ensued in Auburn have killed those expectations.

Georgia is looking to sweep its two rivals, and reach a New Year's Day bowl. Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno are Georgia's "one-two" offensive punch that leads the SEC in total yards per game. They are looking to make it three-in-a-row over the Tigers.

Auburn is hoping to win to become bowl eligible. With Tony Franklin's firing, inconsistant scoring, and injuries abound, it has been nothing short of a rough year for the Tigers. There are many questions swirling around, but one thing is for sure. The players will be focused in on this first part of "Amen Corner."



Auburn will win if...

Kodi Burns emerges as an all-around threat

Kodi Burns took the game into his hands last weekend against UT-Martin. He ran for 158 yards, and threw for 130. He can change this game into Auburn's favor quickly if Georgia allows him to get into space. If he gets help from any of his running backs (Brad Lester, Ben Tate, Mario Fannin, and Tristan Davis), it will be a sign of good things to come.

Auburn stops the run

Auburn's biggest problem, most likely due to injuries, is stopping the rushing attack of SEC teams. It will be easier said than done with Knowshon Moreno coming into town. With the return of Sen' Derrick Marks, Antonio Coleman, and Tez Doolittle from injury, the defensive line will be as healthy as it has been in weeks.



Auburn will lose if...

Georgia's offense takes off

Matthew Stafford has picked apart Auburn two years in a row. It could easily be said that he will do it again to the injured secondary of Auburn. Add A.J. Greene and Knowshon Moreno into the mix, it could end up a very long day for Auburn if the Bulldogs get off quick and do not let up.

Auburn does not execute plays

The biggest problem for the Tigers has been just simple execution of plays. Auburn's offense will get on a roll, then either a penalty or a turnover will throw off the team's rhythm. If Auburn cannot execute against Georgia's defense, then it will be a familiar outcome for the team in orange and blue.



The X-Factor

Virgil Starks

Many of you may not realize who Virgil was, but he was close to all of Auburn's student-athletes. Virgil Starks was Auburn's Senior Associate AD for Student-Athlete Support Services. He made sure that the player's academics and well being was looked after. Auburn will be wearing a sticker with Stark's initials on the back of their helmets.

With all the turmoil that has happened to this team so far, this will be a rallying point for the players. And for a rivalry that is already unpredictable, this only adds fuel to the fire.



Prediction:

It is pretty obvious that Auburn will have to play a complete game to win. It may not take a perfect game, but they have to play four quarters and achieve some consistency.

Georgia will score points; there is no doubt about that. It may come down to containing Matthew Stafford and the Bulldog offense to achieve victory.

The realistic prediction: Georgia 31, Auburn 17

Georgia should be able to move the ball against Auburn's limping defense. Moreno may not have to have a 100-yard game to win due to Stafford's ability to pick apart secondaries.

This Auburn Fan's optimistic prediction: Auburn 24, Georgia 20

If Georgia commits turnovers like they have in their two losses, Auburn should be able to take advantage of these turnovers. It will all depend on Auburn playing their best game of the year to date.



For Auburn fans, the hope of the season lies in this first game of "Amen Corner." Let it be said that anything can happen, especially when Georgia and Auburn meet on the field.

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