Georgia vs. Tennessee Preview

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Georgia vs. Tennessee Preview

Sanford Stadium is the site for a colossal Southeastern Conference showdown Saturday afternoon, as top-ranked Georgia hosts No. 3 Tennessee. Kickoff is set for just after 3:30 for one of the most ballyhooed games ever Between the Hedges.

Both teams head into the game with perfect 8-0 records. Tennessee is 4-0 in Southeastern Conference play, while the reigning national champion Bulldogs are 5-0 in the league. Both teams are also heading into the game coming off impressive performances this past weekend, as Tennessee tattooed Kentucky 44-6 in Knoxville and Georgia defeated Florida 42-20 in Jacksonville.





Tennessee has experienced a tremendous surge this season. In his second season, head coach Josh Heupel has the Volunteers in a stratosphere they have not enjoyed in over 20 years. The hit list is impressive, highlighted by victories over Florida, LSU and Alabama. Those three SEC traditional powers have combined 11 of the past 19 national championships. The 52-49 instant classic triumph over the Crimson Tide was Tennessee’s first in the series since 2006, the year before Nick Saban took the head coaching job in Tuscaloosa.

Now Tennessee tries to beat another SEC team with a 21st century national championship, last year’s in fact.

The Volunteer faithful are savoring every second. They endured a decade in the 2010s that is the least successful in the history of the proud program. Heupel’s first team last season posted a 7-6 record and the Volunteers were trending upward. But this has been an enormous jump.





At the head of the class for Tennessee is quarterback Hendon Hooker, a Heisman Trophy front-runner who is having a season to date on par with the likes of SEC legends Tim Tebow, Cam Newton and Joe Burrow. He is the triggerman for the country’s most potent offense.

Kirby Smart has his alma mater in the midst of a golden era of Georgia Football. Highlighted by last season’s national championship, since a loss to Florida in 2020, the Bulldogs have won 26 of their last 27 games.

Over the last five seasons, Smart has led Georgia to four SEC Championship Games and guided the Bulldogs into the highest elite stratosphere in the country. Over that stretch, Georgia has also won five in a row over Tennessee. The Volunteers last beat Georgia on the Hail Mary in 2016 in Athens.

When it comes to games of this magnitude, there were vital victories over the Yellow Jackets in 1942 and 1946, heartbreaking losses to Auburn in 1971 and 1983, and a memorable victory over Alabama in 1976.

Tickets are hot and expensive. The excitement level is off the charts. The buildup … electric.

The winner of this one has the inside track to the 2022 title tilt. The loser isn’t out of the College Football Playoff race. But there will be no margin for error, and help would likely be required.

This is one of the Saturdays when legacies are made, and seasons – possibly championship seasons – are shaped.





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