No. 12 Georgia visits Ole Miss at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday. The Bulldogs are hunting a 4-0 start under first-year head coach Kirby Smart, and the Rebels are just trying to avoid a 1-3 disaster of a beginning to 2016.
The Dawgs haven't lost yet, and that's great. But they've looked less impressive as the young season has gotten older, and they avoided an upset against Missouri by the slimmest of margins last weekend. A loss would amplify concerns about the Dawgs' as-yet surprisingly poor running game. A win would make lots of the early season warts into water under the bridge.
Ole Miss has everything on the line, as a 1-3 start would end any College Football Playoff hopes before they ever really began. The Rebels have taken two crushing losses against Florida State and Alabama. They've at times looked elite in both of those games, but they haven't been able to finish. This week, that must change.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 12 p.m., ESPN. The broadcasters are Dave Pasch, Greg McElroy, and Tom Luginbill.
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Spread: The Rebels opened as 6-point favorites.
Three big things to know
1. It's not going great for Nick Chubb. After missing much of last season with a knee injury, Chubb looked brilliant in UGA's opening win against North Carolina. He ran for 222 yards that day, a 6.9 yard average on 32 attempts. But since then, he's run for 143 yards on 39 attempts, an average of 3.6. We'll get a better sense of whether it's just been a two-game blip against Nicholls and Missouri or something deeper, maybe rooted in an offensive line that hasn't given Chubb much real estate.
2. Jacob Eason can take another step. The Bulldogs put lots on Eason's plate against Mizzou, having him throw 55 times. (He'd previously thrown a total of 32 times in one start and one relief appearance.) Eason did fine against the Tigers, but he was markedly less efficient than against UNC or Nicholls. Ole Miss has some injuries, but the Rebels will offer the best pass rush and probably the most athletic secondary Eason has faced so far. If he can thrive against this group, he can thrive against almost anybody.
3. Ole Miss needs a Chad Kelly masterpiece, probably. The Dawgs' run defense hasn't been unbeatable, but Ole Miss has little backfield depth. The Dawgs still have a formidable front to put in front of Ole Miss running back Akeem Judd. The Rebels' best hope is that Kelly does damage against a secondary that's only been so-so. Tight end Evan Engram and receivers Van Jefferson and Damore'ea Stringfellow will give Kelly plenty of options to work with.