Offense – Cincinnati
Georgia’s offense has been red hot as of late, but Cincinnati has proved to be the more efficient offensive unit throughout the season. The Bearcats are averaging 39.33 points per game as the Bulldogs average 33.22. Cincinnati has a powerful ground attack and has totaled 28 total touchdowns this season. Georgia averages 4.7 yards per attempt while UC totals 5.7 per carry. The Bearcats passing game averages 242 yards per game compared to Georgia’s 232 total. Cincinnati also averages more rushing yards per game, too. It’s a pretty even matchup as both teams could do damage against the opposing defenses.
Defense – Cincinnati
This one is tough to decide, but the Bearcats get the edge here because they rank No. 13 in total defense while the Bulldogs rank No. 15. Georgia limits opponents to just 19.89 points per game while Cincinnati averages 16.0 points per contest in scoring defense. The Bulldogs will be missing several key players on the defensive side of the ball, so expect to see a lot of young pups get valuable reps. That won’t be the case for the Bearcats as most of their defense plans on playing in the game. The Bearcats rank second in the country in pass efficiency defense, although Georgia ranks first in rush defense. It’s really a toss up but Cincinnati ranks higher than UGA in most defensive categories.
Special Teams – Georgia
Georgia has one of the best special teams units in the country under first year coordinator Scott Cochran. Georgia ranks No. 3 in kickoff return yard average, No. 8 in kickoff return defense and No. 7 in net punt average. The Bearcats finished eighth in the AAC in field goals made (16 of 22) while the Bulldogs finished fifth in the SEC (10 of 13). This game could come down to the wire because both teams are pretty evenly matched on offense and defense. Although if it does, take Georgia because of special teams.
Coaching – Georgia
Georgia’s coaching staff gets the edge here because they have been in the spotlight before. That’s no knock to the Bearcats, but the Bulldogs are making their fourth straight New Year’s Six appearance. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has had his team competing for a national title while Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell is building a monster G5 team. It will be interesting to see how this matchup pans out because Georgia is preparing for next year, while Cincinnati is trying to make a statement to the country.
Overall – Georgia
Georgia opened up as the slight favorite, but this one could go either way. The Bulldogs get the Dawg Bone here because Kirby Smart will have his team ready to play. The fifth-year head coach doesn’t want another embarrassing loss like the one two years ago against Texas in the 2019 Sugar Bowl. The Bearcats will come ready to play, although Georgia is just too talented and the offense is finally clicking. The only way Georgia loses is if they just come out flat, which is something that could happen. It’s just hard to believe that Smart won’t want to silence the critics and move on with momentum into 2021.