The name that matters most for defending-champion Georgia is Stetson Bennett, and his return for a second season as the starting quarterback will mask many of the troubles the Bulldogs have in replacing departed players. The Bulldogs don’t have much in the way of experience understudying Bennett. Keeping him healthy is a huge key for the opener and beyond. Bennett was solid if not spectacular last season, but look for the Georgia native to improve upon his 2,862 yards and 29 touchdowns from a year ago. The over/under on Bennett touchdown passes this season has been set at 25½.
Oregon hasn’t announced its starting quarterback for the opener, but it is believed to be between former Auburn starter Bo Nix and redshirt freshman Ty Thompson. The latter played sparingly last season. Nix lost all three games he played against Georgia while at Auburn, outscored, 82-30, in the process. Whoever ends as the starter will be protected by an offensive line featuring five returnees, including TJ Bass.
The college football lines list Georgia (+350) as the third choice to win the National Championship, behind Alabama (+175) and Ohio State (+300). Oregon is +8000.
Both the Bulldogs (+150) and the Ducks (+275) are the No. 2 choice, via college football odds, to win their conference, behind Alabama (-150) and USC (+200), respectively.
How the Bulldogs and coach Kirby Smart deploy Arik Gilbert has been one of the top stories of the preseason. The sophomore, who played tight end as a freshman at LSU before transferring to Georgia (sat out last season due to personal reasons), is quite anxious to make a switch to wide receiver. The Marietta, GA, native and Gatorade National Player of the Year (2019) has yet to prove he can meet all the demands of the job. “The certain requirements that it takes to play receiver is it requires stamina, running every play, going to cut off blocks,” Smart told the media. “The biggest hurdle for him has been the conditioning level.” The Bulldogs do seem in need of a playmaker at receiver, as their top returning options are Ladd McConkey, (31 catches, 447 yards, five touchdowns), Kearis Jackson, and Adonai Mitchell. Dominick Blaylock is another returnee who missed most of last season due to injury, while All-American Brock Bowers (56 catches, 882 yards, 13 touchdowns as a freshman last season) should be able to hold down the fort at tight end. The over/unders for Bowers this season are 749½ receiving yards and 10½ touchdowns.
Dan Lanning takes over as coach of the Ducks, fresh off three seasons spent as the defensive coordinator of the Bulldogs. That’s an interesting chess match between himself, Smart, and Georgia co-defensive coordinators Will Muschamp and Glenn Schumann, who served as the linebackers coach for three seasons under Lanning. Noah Sewell, a preseason All-American and the younger brother of former Duck and Detroit Lions offensive tackle Penei Sewell, gives Lanning a standout at middle linebacker. “He’s a guy that can move from point A to point B with a lot of speed and violence,” Oregon defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi told the media. “And he’s a guy that has some versatility to his game. We put a lot on that position.”
Oregon vs Georgia Injury Report
Georgia wide receiver Arian Smith, who missed all but three games last season due to injury, is out at least two months (ankle surgery).
Oregon vs Georgia Head-to-Head
They haven’t played one another since before all of the players involved in this game were born (September 1977) and Georgia hasn’t met a Pac-12 team since 2009. Overall, the Bulldogs are 10-4-1 against the Pac-12, including a win over Oregon in that game.
The Ducks are 4-6 all-time vs. the SEC, the latest game being a 27-21, 2019 season-opening defeat to Auburn and Nix. Oregon beat No. 3 Ohio State in their second game last season, before finishing 10-4 with a loss in the Alamo Bowl.
Oregon vs Georgia Game Information
- Game: Oregon vs Georgia
- Location: Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
- Day/Time: Saturday, Sep 3, 3:30 p.m. ET
- Oregon vs Georgia Live Stream: ESPN
Oregon vs Georgia Betting Lines
Oregon vs Georgia Prediction
If any team can cover 17 points against another ranked team, it’s Georgia.
The Bulldogs played seven ranked teams last season, and only one of the games surpassed 51 total points (41-24 loss to Alabama). Here, the total for this game stands at 53. Expect this game to fall a touchdown short of that.
“The odds and predictions in the article are based on time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.”