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Auburn vs. Georgia Prediction: Deep South's Oldest Rivalry Resumes in Athens

Bulldogs have won last five meetings in their rivalry with Tigers.

The one thing we are learning about in this still-early college football season is that everyone is vulnerable. Everyone has warts. Everyone can be beaten.

Related: College Football Predictions for Every Game in Week 6

You saw that first and foremost in Georgia's skin-of-their-teeth 26-22 escape past Missouri, which literally cost them the top spot in the latest polls. In fact, the Bulldogs (5-0, 2-0 SEC) have looked more than human in the last two weeks, seemingly sleepwalking in underwhelming wins over Kent State and then at Mizzou. The Bulldogs overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the ornery Tigers.

While we're on the subject of blown leads, Auburn comes into this one having blown a 17-point second-quarter lead to LSU and going scoreless for the final 39 minutes and 38 seconds in a painful, 21-17 loss. That dropped the Tigers to 3-2 (1-1 SEC) on the season and head coach Bryan Harsin allegedly edging closer to getting his walking papers. But boy howdy, could you imagine what a win here against the Bulldogs would do for his job security?

The Bulldogs have won five straight games in this series and also 14 of the last 17 showdowns between these neighboring rivals. They have won the last two meetings 27-6 and 34-10.

Auburn at No. 2 Georgia

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Georgia -29.5
Tickets: As low as $190 on

When Auburn Has the Ball

For Auburn… GAH! Just do something in the second half. Anything. In their last three games (all vs. Power 5 competition) the Tigers have held the ball for a combined 44 minutes and 50 seconds during the third and fourth quarters and have SIX points to show for it. Harsin and offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau are under the spotlight here.

The key to Auburn's attack will be the maturation of quarterback Robby Ashford, who will be making his second career start and is completing 54 percent of his passes for 709 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions. The thing that makes him dangerous is his ability to extend plays and tuck and run. Ashford comes into this one with 50 carries for 223 yards and his versatility (and his cutting down on freshman mistakes) will be the deciding factor in whether this is a four-quarter game or not.

Even with Georgia's monster DT Jalen Carter out this week, don't look for Tank Bigsby to be a viable running threat for Auburn. Despite being one of my keys to their game vs. LSU in my preview last week, he had just 45 yards on 12 carries (3.8 ypc). One of his runs was for 23 yards, so the other 11 carries netted just 22 yards. It is vital for the Tigers' offense to keep hitting some new targets and keep Ashford in his comfort zone. Auburn went four games without a TD pass to a wide receiver until Camden Brown caught one last Saturday. Koy Moore got four catches for 55 yards and Omari Kelly came up clutch on a razzle-dazzle trick play as well as the wideouts have started to emerge. But is it too little too late?

When Georgia Has the Ball

The biggest question — other than who is Darnell Washington going to leap over this week? — is will this team sleepwalk in the early part of another game? You might've seen the graphic during the Missouri game, in their first four games the Bulldog offense averaged 152 yards in the first quarter. Against the Tigers, they gained just 49 yards. Stetson Bennett was 1-for-5 for four yards by the time Mizzou had a 10-0 lead.

What jumped off the page for the Bulldogs was the questionable play of the offensive line. Missouri did a lot of disrupting in pressuring Bennett and clogging up the running lanes. Because of the O-line woes, the running game was boxed up for most of the game. But as you saw near the end, the toss sweep became Georgia's biggest weapon and that seemed to open up the entire offense. Kenny McIntosh, Kendall Milton, and Daijun Edwards all ended up gaining more than 50 yards on the ground while averaging better than five yards per carry. Watch the big uglies up front from the first whistle here.

One last thing about Auburn's D. If I'm defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding, I'm gonna take the video of last week's first half against Missouri and I'm emulating everything those Tigers did. They only sacked Bennett once in that half, but he was just 10-of-24 for 149 yards at the break. Look for the Plainsmen to get as many guys as they can to make Bennett a little jumpy in the pocket and rush some throws. Now, does Auburn have the personnel that Mizzou did to make this happen? We'll see.

Final Analysis

Something tells me that the Bulldogs are going to wake up this time. No more sleeping through the alarm for the Silver Britches. Look for them to come out with razor-sharp focus this week. They've heard enough about their apathetic performances the last two weeks. I'm thinking we'll see more of that Bulldog team that took a very good Oregon team to the woodshed. Poor Auburn. The Tigers are facing an impossible situation here with zero chance for a W.

Prediction: Georgia 42, Auburn 13

Podcast: Week 6 Preview, Predictions, the Latest in Coaching Changes, and Picks Against the Spread

— Written by Eric Sorenson, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He is a college football, college baseball and college hockey addict... and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Stitch_Head.

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