The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry: the rivalry name was given to Auburn versus Georgia. These two teams first met on the gridiron in 1892. They have played every year since then, excluding 1943. Georgia leads the overall series with 59 wins to Auburn’s 56. There have also been eight ties. Lately, Georgia has dominated the rivalry winning 11 out of 14. Both teams still have a lot to gain from this game. A Georgia win means a third straight SEC East Division title. Auburn can still manage a New Year’s Six bowl game, despite being out of the running for the SEC West. As the season draws to a close, these two rivals hope to enjoy bragging rights for the next 365 days.
Georgia’s 2019 season began as the previous two did. The Bulldogs raced out to a 5-0 start including a win against then #7 Notre Dame. Georgia won that contest 23-17. Three weeks later, the Bulldogs suffered their only set back of the season. South Carolina came to Athens and won in double overtime. Senior kicker Rodrigo Blankenship missed a game-tying field goal that gave South Carolina the upset win. Since then, Georgia has posted two home shutouts against Kentucky and Missouri. The Bulldogs also defeated rival Florida in Jacksonville to take control of the SEC East. With the east division on the line, Georgia hopes to continue its recent success over their rivals from the Plains.
Auburn began 2019 with a bang in Dallas. The Tigers defeated Oregon 27-21 on a last-second pass from freshman quarterback Bo Nix. Auburn followed that win with wins over Tulane and Kent State. The Tigers then won back-to-back SEC games against Texas A&M and Mississippi State. In week 6, the Tigers fell short against Florida 24-13. Auburn bounced back to win two of their next three games. The only loss for the Tigers came to #2 LSU. Auburn has struggled with top teams in recent years. However, two years ago, the Tigers were able to defeat the number one ranked team twice in three weeks. While Georgia will not be ranked number 1, the Tigers have an opportunity to spoil their season. Auburn also has a chance to get into a better bowl game with a win on Saturday.
2019 Game Preview
With the team recaps done, let us start breaking down the matchups that will decide a winner on Saturday. Both teams have exceptional defenses. Both defenses are suffocating and can give the opposing offenses fits. The offense that is able to sustain drives on a consistent basis puts themselves in a position to win. The quarterback position favors Georgia. Jake Fromm has more experience and has played in bigger games than Bo Nix. Contrarily, Nix has played in three big games this season. The rest of the offensive positions are balanced. Both teams have exceptional running backs and receivers, as well as veteran offensive linemen. There is also a coin flip in the special teams department. Both kickers can hit long field goals and are weapons at the end of games.
On paper, this game can go either way. I give Georgia the advantage due to the recent success coach Kirby Smart has brought to Athens. The winner of this game will be the team that limits turnovers and big plays offensively. I also look at the penalty department in games like this. Whichever team commits the least amount of penalties will be in good shape at the end of the game.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has struggled in big games during his tenure. However, he has been able to catch lightning in a bottle and pull off his fair share of upsets. While I feel Georgia might win this game, it would not surprise me if Auburn pulls the shocker. When two rivals get together, you can throw the records out the window. Another chapter of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is set to be written on Saturday, at 2:30 Central Standard Time, inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. It’s time to tee it up on the Loveliest Village. War Eagle.