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Georgia Bulldogs vs. Auburn Tigers Preview and Prediction

Author:
Sony Michel

Sony Michel

Auburn has had one of the weirdest seasons of any college football team. The Tigers failed to live up to preseason expectations as a national contender by losing four of their first five conference games, yet managed to pull off a 26-10 upset at Texas A&M in Week 10. Despite the early disappointment, Auburn could still secure a postseason berth by earning its sixth win on Saturday.

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The only SEC team that could compare is Georgia, who took the opposite approach by starting 4-0 before losing three of its last five games. Similarly, the Bulldogs were predicted by many to win the SEC East and contend for a College Football Playoff berth before a rout by Alabama and Nick Chubb's injury the following week derailed their championship hopes.

Saturday's game is an intriguing matchup, despite receiving far less hype than what was assumed in preseason. Here's a look at which SEC team will reign supreme in Week 11.

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Georgia at Auburn

Kickoff: 12 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV: CBS

Spread: Auburn -1.5

Three Things to Watch

1. Can Muschamp's defense repeat last week's success?

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Let's be honest, Will Muschamp's defense has been underwhelming in 2015. That is, except for last week when Auburn allowed a season-low 303 yards against Texas A&M.

The Tigers also forced three interceptions and held the Aggies' passing attack to just 137 yards and one touchdown. Muschamp-coached teams hadn't ranked lower than the top 10 nationally since 2009, a streak that will end after Auburn's disappointing start. But the Tigers have shown improvement through the season and should fare well facing a struggling Georgia offense.

2. Georgia's rushing attack vs. Auburn's front seven

Sony Michel has fared well in Nick Chubb's absence. Last week, Michel rushed for 165 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.

The sophomore has averaged 110.5 yards in each game since Chubb's injury and is averaging 5.7 yards per carry on 126 total attempts. Auburn's rushing defense has allowed 191.22 yards per game, which ranks 11th in the SEC.

The Tigers have also allowed 19 rushing touchdowns, which ranks 12th in the conference and allowed 166 yards in last week's win. Auburn will need to see immediate improvement on Saturday facing the SEC's second-best rushing attack and a rising star in Michel.

3. Jeremy Johnson's impact on Auburn's offense

It's tough to fall back into the Johnson hype after a failed preseason Heisman campaign saw him lose the starting quarterback job, which freshman Sean White still holds. But Johnson managed to throw for 132 yards and a score on 13-of-17 passing in a limited role against Texas A&M last week.

Another strong performance could boost Johnson back into the starting role. He has the intangibles to be a succesful quarterback, but needs to prove his confidence has improved.

Final Analysis

Auburn is on the right side of momentum entering Saturday's game. It also doesn't hurt to have home-field advantage, as well a bowl appearance on the horizon.

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Georgia's recent struggles should continue on the road against an Auburn team that looks more like what many expected to see in preseason. The Tigers should earn a postseason berth with a big win on Saturday.

Prediction: Auburn 28, Georgia 20

— Written by Jason Hall, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and works for Fox Sports Florida. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhallFSN.