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#14 TENNESSEE @ #3 GEORGIA (-13)
KICKOFF – 3:30pm on CBS
COMMENTATORS – Brad Nessler & Gary Danielson with Jamie Erdahl
WEATHER FORECAST – 74 Scattered Thunderstorms, 50% Chance of Rain, 6 mph winds at kickoff
If you get a big game feel, those butterflies and jitters in your stomach, a little adrenaline coursing through your veins when thinking about today’s matchup between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Georgia Bulldogs, then don’t second guess yourself. You should. This is a big game, for a litany of reasons. A history drench rivalry, complicated intertwined personal relationships, and recruiting implications are all brought into the purview of this SEC East showdown.
Let’s start with he history shall we? Today at 3:30 on CBS, Georgia will host Tennessee for their 50th meeting all-time. Georgia currently holds a one game edge over UT in the series with a record of 24 – 23 – 2. Traditionally this has been a series of streaks. In fact, in only 4 instances has a team won in this series and not followed it up with a victory the next year. Georgia agonized through 9 straight defeats to the Vols from 1989 to 1999, but since the turn of the century, Georgia has dominated. Since 2000, including the Hobnail Boot Game in 2001, Georgia has won 14 of the 20 meetings and is currently on a 3 game streak against big orange. In the last three contests Georgia has outscored Tennessee 122 to 26.
As far as complicated personal matters go, there are plenty of connections here with the Dawgs and Vols. Jim Cheney was Kirby Smart’s first Offensive Coordinator at UGA and the familiarity that Cheney has with Smart, and likewise Smart with Cheney, is intriguing. Also, of course Jeremey Pruitt and Kirby have Alabama and time with Nick Saban in common. Ultimately however there is the Cade Mays saga. Mays is embroiled in an argument against UGA of there being a “toxic environment” during his tenure in the Classic City and there was a lawsuit by Mays’s Father for an unfortunate and infamous pinky finger and folding chair problem.
Lastly, recruiting. As I wrote earlier this week, this game has tremendous consequence in the area of recruiting. With COVID having halted normal on-campus recruiting, the only thing that recruits can legally be swayed right now, other than phone calls and text messages, is the actual product on the field. Several high profile recruits in the class of 2021 seem to be teetering between Georgia and Tennessee, including 5-Star left tackle Amarius Mims. Nyland Green, Smael Mondon, and Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins all are in a similar boat and all could make decisions on their recruitment this month, with this game looming large and fresh in their minds.
So buckled up folks and enjoy this battle for SEC East supremacy to-date in the 2020 season that has so much more on the line than just the win loss record.