The No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs look like one of the best teams in the country, entering Week 7 undefeated and beating light competition by an average of 30 points.
But as the Dawgs enter the October-November part of their schedule, the road ahead looks a lot rougher than it did.
Before the season, many people would’ve picked Georgia to go 4-0 against LSU, Florida, Kentucky, and Auburn. Per S&P+, the Dawgs are likely to lose at least one of those games, even though their win probability in each individual game is 70 percent or better. That’s despite Auburn being worse than expected, because the other three have all won more than most people anticipated.
Just by looking at win totals from before the season began, you can see that most of these teams are doing much better than expected. Florida was projected at 7.5 wins, LSU 7, Kentucky 5.5, and Auburn at 9 — the Wildcats are already at five wins, and Florida and LSU are just two wins away each. Sure, Auburn might be underachieving, but the Tigers probably aren’t as bad as they seem. They have S&P+’s No. 1 defense, at least.
Oct. 13 at LSU: The lowest win probability for Georgia comes Oct. 13 on the road at LSU, with 70 percent. Sure, the Gators just beat the Tigers last weekend, but don’t expect a 2:30 CT Death Valley crowd to be tempered after LSU’s first loss of the season. The Dawgs are currently 7-point favorites.
Should Georgia fans be that scared? Since this game is on the road, sure, but I’d take Vegas’ confidence and run with it here.
Oct. 27 vs. Florida (in Jacksonville): S&P+ predicts the Dawgs have a 73 percent chance to beat the Gators. As a Florida graduate myself, I can confidently say I’m scared shitless for this game, even though this rivalry game, especially when it comes to upsets, is quite flukey:
Upsets in this series have been especially costly. The Dawgs kept superior Gators out of the SEC Championship in 1997, 2007 and 2012, but UGA fans might be entitled to feel even more aggrieved.
Mark Richt would almost certainly still be the head coach in Athens without a few of these losses to Florida, specifically because: (1) 2002 SEC champion Georgia likely would have played Miami for the national title without a loss to a Florida that was statistically eight points worse overall, and (2) Georgia would have won the East and been playing for a Playoff spot against Alabama in 2014 if not for the inexplicable loss to Will Muschamp’s last Florida team and a strange loss to Georgia Tech.
Should Georgia fans be that scared? Yes, only because this rivalry is always unpredictable, and the ghost of 2014 Muschamp can absolutely come back and haunt the Dawgs at any time.
Nov. 3 at Kentucky: S&P+ gives the Dawgs a 73 percent chance to win this game. Yes, Kentucky beat Florida last month, and this game’s in Lexington, where the Wildcats are undefeated in 2018.
Should Georgia fans be that scared? A little, but this is definitely the most complete and balanced team Kentucky will face this year. I give UGA the advantage here.
Nov. 10 vs. Auburn: Per S&P+, Georgia has a 79 percent chance to win this one, which sounds about right. The Tigers look a lot less formidable after losing to LSU and to unranked Mississippi State.
Should Georgia fans be that scared? Not really, tbh. Plus, this game’s at home, so the Dawgs should honestly be fine.
If the numbers are right and the Dawgs drop a game, I’m not exactly ready to say outright which one, but the Dawgs should still be completely fine if they lose to either LSU or Florida. A loss to Florida hurts their divisional record, but as long as UGA beats Kentucky, they can likely make it to Atlanta because of that UK win over Florida, assuming the Gators don’t just win out. Same goes for LSU pretty much, since the Tigers are in the West.
Georgia’s road looks a lot tougher than it initially did, but we’ll get to see what the Dawgs are truly made of with this stretch of games.