Georgia football is back. The Bulldogs take on the Oregon Ducks this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game from Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Dawgs enter the season ranked No. 3 overall while the Ducks hold the No. 12 ranking the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll and No. 11 in the AP Top-25.
We always like to get a perspective from the opposite fanbase and media, so we reached out to our fellow USA TODAY College Wires site Ducks Wire for a Q and A session that surely gives a fresh look at things.
Here is a take from behind enemy lines on the upcoming, massive tilt between Georgia and Oregon on Saturday, with Ducks Wire’s Zachary Neel asking a handful of questions that I had for him about the game.
What’s the general feel for this game amongst Oregon fans this week? Nervous? Excited?
Zachary Neel (Ducks Wire): I think that’s a good way to put it, there’s a lot of nervous excitement about this game with a good bit of anxiety mixed in there. After such a frustrating end to Mario Cristobal’s tenure, Dan Lanning has brought a refreshing energy to Eugene and this first game is going to be wrought with storylines. While it’s great to be on a big stage in the first week of action, I think there is some fear about the potential downside of playing the defending champions in week 1. We’ll see how it goes, but I know that Oregon fans are extremely excited to finally see this team on the field.
Dan Lanning obviously knows Georgia well. How big of an impact do you think that will play in this game?
Zachary Neel (Ducks Wire): A lot has been made about that leading up to this game, and Lanning has been asked specifically about how much of an advantage that is. In the end, it boils down to the fact that Lanning has a good feel for how Georgia will operate, but the Bulldogs also have a feel for what Lanning likes to do. “Ultimately, Kirby Smart is not gonna play a single snap on Saturday and neither is Dan Lanning,” the Ducks’ coach said in Monday’s presser. It’s going to be about the players executing on the field when all is said and done.
Are Oregon fans excited about Bo Nix this season? He’s winless against UGA - how do you think he performs on Saturday?
Zachary Neel (Ducks Wire): The whole Bo Nix vs. Ty Thompson debate has been interesting to follow. Thompson has almost been viewed as Oregon’s favorite son since coming to Eugene because he is the first 5-star QB to ever sign with the Ducks, and many wanted him to be the next Marcus Mariota or Justin Herbert. However, it appears that Thompson just isn’t ready yet, so the team brought in Nix. While it’s taken some time to accept the fact that Nix is going to be the guy, I think fans have come around to buying in. It helps that he’s reunited with Kenny Dillingham, who was his OC at Auburn, which gives Oregon fans some confidence that he can be pretty good. In reality, we just need Nix to be for Oregon what Stetson Bennett is for Georgia — an above average QB who can avoid mistakes and let a talented defense be the star of the show.
Which Oregon players should Georgia watchout for offensively and defensively?
Zachary Neel (Ducks Wire): Everyone knows about Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe on the defense, and if you don’t you’ll find out pretty quickly. Both are among the most talented linebackers in the nation and should thrive with Lanning coaching them. Aside from that, keep an eye on CB Christian Gonzalez and DL Brandon Dorlus — both project to be really good. On offense, WR Seven McGee has been dubbed the next coming of De’Anthony Thomas in Eugene, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a breakout game, along with WRs Troy Franklin and Dont’e Thornton, who are two of the highest-rated WR prospects to sign in Oregon and will now look to thrive in an offense that actually utilizes that position.
What are you expecting from Oregon fans as far as attendance goes? Predicted percentage of Georgia to Oregon fans?
Zachary Neel (Ducks Wire): For a “neutral site” game that is anything but neutral, I’m sure that Duck fans are going to far outnumbered in this one. I know of a handful of people that are traveling down to this game, but I’d be shocked if Oregon had more than 15% of the crowd capacity? Even that feels like it could be pushing it.
If I were to give you $100 to wager on this game for you to split up between the money line (UGA -850, UO +570), spread (UGA -16.5), and total (O/U 53.5) where are you putting your money?
Zachary Neel (Ducks Wire): I think I’m taking $75 and trying to parlay Oregon +16.5 with the Under 53.5. I think it’s going to be a defensive game with not many points scored. After that, I’m going to be bullish and put it on Oregon’s money line. I don’t expect them to win, but I don’t think it’s impossible, and at +570 odds, it’s worth a flyer.
Let’s get a final game prediction. Who wins this game, and what is the final score?
Zachary Neel (Ducks Wire): Give me Georgia holding off a comeback attempt from the Ducks, 27-20.