Texas looks to face its toughest matchup yet this season, as it travels to the Superdome to face the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia is stockpiled with NFL talent on both sides of the ball, and arguably should be in the College Football Playoff. Texas has undoubtedly improved in its second season under Tom Herman, but it has not yet shown that it is back to the dominance it enjoyed throughout much of the 2000s. A win over Georgia would go a long way in demonstrating just how much Texas is “back.” For now, let’s predict how Texas will fare against Georgia:
These are the kind of games that fans have been anxiously waiting for Texas to play in again. You want Texas to be back? They need to start appearing in games like this annually, and they need to find ways to win them if they want to be back on the national stage.
Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs are a tough, hard-nosed football team that is going to be looking to take out some frustration after missing out on the College Football Playoff. They have a steady hand at quarterback in Jake Fromm, and possess a solid stable of backs that will wear on you over the course of the game. Their style of play is well known by now — ground and pound with some play action shot plays over the top and stellar defensive play. It’s not always pretty, but it’s effective.
If Texas wants a shot to upend the Bulldogs, they are going to have to find a way to get into a groove early on offense and get the run game going. They can’t allow themselves to get one dimensional and allow that defense to tee off on Sam Ehlinger.
While I’m not in love with the matchup for the Longhorns, I can’t rule them out playing up to the competition, which is something Tom Herman coached teams are known for. I think this one ends up being closer than Vegas is predicting, but I still think the Bulldogs will edge out the Longhorns in NOLA.
Prediction: Georgia 35, Texas 27
When this matchup was first announced, I thought it was not a good draw for Texas. Georgia is built on winning in the trenches, and I wasn’t sure if the Longhorns had what it took to hang around. The more I thought about it though, the more I like Texas. Sam Ehlinger and the offense should be able to find success moving the ball. Kirby Smart announcing Thorpe winner D’Andre Baker would not play only strengthened my belief.
The Longhorns truly have nothing to lose. They are in a NY6 bowl game in their second year under Tom Herman, who is ridiculously good when his team is a double digit underdog. Texas’ entire season is built on the fact they play to the level of their competition, so I have no reason to believe this won’t be a really close game. In the end, I’ll take Texas on a game-winning kick from Cameron Dicker.
Prediction: Texas 31, Georgia 28
Georgia is one of the most well-rounded teams in the country. Texas, while not as complete as Georgia, has the capacity to score a lot of points behind Sam Ehlinger. The Texas defense will have their hands full with a potent Georgia offense, and the Longhorns will need to play their most complete game of the season to defeat the Bulldogs. Georgia could have a hangover after the letdown against Alabama in the SEC Championship, in which Texas could steal this one if things are aligned right. In the end the Bulldogs have too much firepower for the ‘Horns, and Georgia wins the 2018 Sugar Bowl 43-35.
Prediction: Georgia 43, Texas 35
On paper, this is not a great matchup for the Longhorns. Georgia is more physical up front on both sides, has a legitimate running attack, and unleashes a lethal defense every week. However, Tom Herman’s teams are at their best when they are an underdog. With the current lines favoring the Bulldogs by 13 points, the Longhorns are sure to be fired up in order to prove the doubters wrong.
Although I think this game will be close, I also believe the same things will emerge that have plagued the Longhorns all season — bad defense and a few stalled offensive series. This Georgia team is extremely well-rounded, and has the ability to break games open in the blink of an eye. The Texas defense has not been great this year, and has to stop the tandem of D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield out of the backfield if it wants even a resemblance of a chance. If it can do that and force Jake Fromm into passing situations, it has a chance. On offense, Texas will have to establish its own running game in order to give Sam Ehlinger some time to make plays. This is the first time Ehlinger will be close to being 100% healthy since injuring his AC joint against Baylor. Fortunately for Texas, Jim Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker will sit out the Sugar Bowl, and Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey will play. Texas has an advantage against the Georgia secondary that it will no doubt attempt to utilize.
While I believe this game will be close, I just don’t think Texas is quite at the level of the elite programs in the country. The Longhorns are close, but not yet ready to claim that they are back to national prominence.
Prediction: Georgia 38, Texas 28
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