Just think about the Auburn Tigers' mindset right now. They just got done making a solid comeback on the road against LSU in a wild environment, pulling out a 24-19 white-knuckler. But they quickly realize that pausing for a breather is not an option. Congratulations, you beat LSU. Now you have to play the most dominant defense we have seen in college football in quite a few years. Good luck.
While Auburn (4-1, 1-0 SEC) was pulling its Houdini trick at Tiger Stadium, the Bulldogs (5-0, 3-0) were putting the clamps on No. 8 Arkansas in a rather ugly and completely dominating 37-0 fashion. Aye-yaye-yaye. While the Tigers lost to Penn State and then barely survived Georgia State and came back to beat LSU, this week will be nothing close to what they have seen this season.
Are they ready for this massive step up? And also, is Georgia due for a letdown?
No. 2 Georgia at No. 18 Auburn
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Georgia -15.5
When Georgia Has the Ball
Apparently, it does not matter who is playing quarterback for the Bulldogs. JT Daniels, Stetson Bennett, Carson Beck … hell they could bring Buck Belue back out of retirement and put his 60-year-old arm back there and this team would succeed. No matter who has been behind center, the Bulldogs are averaging 41 points per game, good for eighth nationally. Whether Daniels makes his return from injury or if Bennett gets his third start of the season, it won't matter. Daniels is hitting 76 percent of his passes, and Bennett is connecting on 71 percent of his throws, so po-tay-to/po-tah-to.
The running game got a real shot in the arm with the speedy James Cook making his presence felt in the win over Arkansas as he gained 87 yards on 12 carries to complement Zamir White, who has yet to gain more than 74 yards in a game yet this season. Look for the Dawgs to lean on the running game a bit more here, hoping to strike a better run/pass ratio.
Speaking of the running game, Auburn has the speed and talent to burn on the defensive side of the ball. But this D-line doesn't have a Derrick Brown or a Nick Fairley anchoring down the trenches and wreaking havoc, as they rely on a very active second level to both serve as ball hawks and run down opposing backs that get through the contact zone. That makes the blocks of pulling guards and tackles, along with downfield blocks by receivers and the tight ends so crucial to this Bulldog running game.
When Auburn Has the Ball
It was good to see Bo Nix get back on his horse and lead this team with confidence and swagger. After getting benched in favor of T.J. Finley, who lead the comeback against Georgia State, Nix was kept as the starter and engineered a great comeback win against the Bayou Bengals. He had 255 yards through the air and also led the ground game with 74 rushing yards. His most impressive stat? How about the 175 yards he scrambled for while breaking four tackles and still somehow hitting Tyler Fromm for the first touchdown of the game? That was Manziel-like magic there. That level of improvisation will be much-needed this week against that hyper-aggressive Junkyard Dog defense.
The running game has been a little off the last few games. Tank Bigsby, who started the season with three 100-yard games, has been quiet the last two weeks. He had just 27 yards on nine carries against LSU. His cohort Jarquez Hunter had 65 yards on six carries, but 44 of those came on one fourth-quarter run. The Auburn offense can't be one-dimensional this week. While Nix is capable of great runs and making things happen with his feet, Bigsby and Hunter must establish some kind of consistent ground attack.
You gotta feel sorry for that offensive line for the Tigers. They have been taking a lot of the blame for the offensive struggles and now they get to face that fearsome Bulldog defense. But if you want a silver lining, keep in mind that this same O-line kept the nation's best pass rush (LSU) without a sack all night. The Bayou Bengals came in with the stats but never could get the wily Nix on his back. If the big uglies up front can do it again here, that will give the Auburn offense puncher's chance.
Look, I can sit here and go into all kinds of deep analysis or break down the game film and blather on for another three or four paragraphs about what will happen and why. But all I really need to point out is that the Junkyard Dogs have surrendered one touchdown in 20 quarters of play. One.
Now, will they extend that streak to 24 quarters? With what we saw from Nix last week at LSU, probably not. He was at his best, even if it didn't always look very pretty. But this Georgia defense is still way too other-worldly to go against.
Prediction: Georgia 28, Auburn 10
Podcast: Week 6 Preview and Predictions + 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.