Georgia at Missouri
Rob Veno's Recommendation:
Saturday, 4:45 pm PT - ESPN2
Georgia -3 O/U 54
Georgia -2 O/U 54.5
Rob Veno's Power Rating:
The time has come for SEC newcomer Missouri to either prove or dis-prove the prevailing thought amongst college football experts that they will struggle versus a steady diet of SEC competition. No doubt the anticipation and emotions at Faurot Field will be overwhelming which could be one of many factors that determine this outcome.
For Georgia, prior suspensions at key positions are now combining with injuries to become a significant issue. Or are they? Georgia head coach Mark Richt has yet to confirm this week whether previously stated multi-game suspensions to star players ILB Alec Ogeltree and FS Baccari Rambo will be either upheld or lifted. Neither played last week due to violation of the school’s drug policy but with a third defensive star, CB Malcom Mitchell now doubtful, it will be interesting to see if Richt sticks to the suspensions. With all three ready and on the field, Georgia’s defense is among the nation’s best, but without them against Buffalo last week, they held the Bulls to eight three-and-outs on their 13 possessions. The other five drives however saw Buffalo score 23 points and pick up 310 yards on 41 plays (7.56 ypp). Missouri’s offense has explosive weaponry at all the skill positions and their up-tempo style will push UGA’s defensive depth should they be without three of their best defenders. With SE Louisiana as their walk through opener, Missouri was able to spend all summer preparing for this SEC East Division game so Georgia is going to get their best shot.
While QB James Franklin, WRs Dorial Green-Beckham and TJ Moe and RB Kendial Lawrence can create trouble for any defense, Georgia’s skill players are every bit their equal. QB Andy Murray, and his trio of wideouts Tavares King, Marlon Bown (back this week after sitting out last week), and Michael Bennett are all future NFL caliber talents. Add in the burst onto the scene by RB Todd Gurley last week and you’ve got threats all over the field. According to Richt, the offensive line should have the services of starting RT John Theus (left last Saturday’s game with sprained ankle) but with his backup injured too, Missouri is likely to try and take advantage of that side of the line.
Money has come in on Missouri early this week as the number has fallen from Georgia -3 to -2. Without knowledge of Richt’s verdict on Ogletree and Rambo it’s difficult to definitively handicap Georgia. The one element that’s easy to handicap here is the all-out home effort Missouri will give. They’re obviously good enough to win this game but the clearer picture to me is the total. It has risen from the opener of 54 to 54.5 and I definitely agree with the move. This game will be fast paced with high powered efficient passing games being the most dominant aspect. Capable home run threats at RB and prolific QB play make these offenses too balanced and diverse to not exceed this number no matter who’s on the defensive side. Expect this total to climb so playing sooner rather than later with the key number 55 still in our favor is important.
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