Georgia

Georgia projected 15-point SEC title game favorite, but Takeo Spikes asserts LSU has best shot at upset

ATHENS — LSU has a better chance of beating Georgia than any other team in the country this season, according to SEC Network analyst Takeo Spikes.

Spikes, an All-American at Auburn in 1997, expressed that sentiment during Saturday night’s SEC Football Final show after the Tigers and Bulldogs earned a seat in the Dec. 3 SEC championship game.

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“In the SEC, and I would say any team, the LSU Tigers are the best team that has the ability to defeat Georgia,” Spikes said on the SEC Network.

The Bulldogs would currently be projected as the 15-point favoriteaccording to Collin Wilson from Action Networkbut both UGA and LSU have two regular season games remaining.

Spikes noted that the Tigers’ defensive line runs deeper than Freshman Player of the Year contestant Harold Perkins Jr., who ranks third in the SEC with 7 1/2 sacks.

“Ali Gaye, Mekhi Wingo, BJ Ojulari — we talk ad nauseam about Harold Perkins, and rightly so, but I’ll tell you, these three guys make all the difference,” Spikes said.

“With that front, these guys are very disruptive. Then you consider (LSU defense coordinator) Matt House and his schemes where certain guys disagree. I look forward to seeing this game.

Georgia’s offensive line was virtually bulletproof, third in the nation with just 7 sacks allowed, and paved the way for a rushing game that ranks 31st in the country at 192.5 yards per game.

Former UGA tight end Ben Watson, who like Spikes is a panelist at the SEC soccer finals every Saturday night, also pointed to the struggle in the trenches.

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However, Watson had further questions about the LSU offensive line’s ability to deal with a Georgia defensive front led by NFL Top 5 pick Jalen Carter.

“I want to see the personnel in the trenches,” Watson said. “They’re talking about an LSU offensive line that gave up seven sacks (to Arkansas) — the fact that they were able to get to Jayden Daniels and contain him.

“Can LSU’s offensive line hold up against a Georgia defensive line with Jalen Carter and outside guys blitzing along with high school players?”

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Chris Doering, a former Florida receiver who stars on SEC Network, seemed to agree with Watson.

“You know what Kirby (Smart) and Glenn Schumann and Will Muschamp are licking their chops about?” said Doring. “[LSU has]two freshmen tackles on each side of the line of scrimmage.”

SEC Soccer Finals host Peter Burns, who suggested earlier in the week that Georgia has ousted Alabama as the league standard, left open the possibility of an upset.

“It’s going to come down to individual matchups and the O-Line and D-Line,” Burns said. “When you come to the championship game, anything can happen.

“We all thought Georgia would maul Alabama in the SEC championship game last year, and we saw what happened there.”

This is the fifth time Georgia and LSU have met in the SEC championship game, with the Tigers winning three of the previous four encounters, including the most recent in 2019, en route to winning the CFP championship game 37-10.

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