Both of these teams were the runners-up in their respective conference championship games. The Longhorns lost the Big 12 Championship Game to Oklahoma, 39-27, while Georgia lost the SEC Championship Game to Alabama, 35-28.
Because of the Sugar Bowl’s conference tie-ins with the SEC and the Big 12 and the fact that both conference champs were selected for the College Football Playoff, the conference runners up get to play in tonight’s game.
In just two season, Tom Herman has turned the Longhorns’ football program around. In 2016, Texas went 5-7 under then-coach Charlie Strong. Last season, Herman improved the record to 7-6. This season, Texas went 9-4 overall and 7-2 in the Big 12.
After making the College Football Playoff last season, Georgia was hoping to return again this year. Unfortunately, losing the SEC Championship to Alabama knocked the Bulldogs out of contention, as it should. The Bulldogs’ starting quarterback Jake Fromm, who had a very good year last year during his freshman season, had an even better season this year. Fromm threw for more touchdowns and fewer interceptions than last season. He also completed more passes this season while being sacked fewer times than a year ago.
The Dawgs have a pair of running backs in D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield which combined for almost 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns. Holyfield is a junior whose father is former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield.
Meanwhile, look for the Longhorns’ offense to be more heavy the passing. Sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw for almost 600 yards more than Fromm this season. His two favorite targets are Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson. The duo caught almost twice as many passes than Georgia’s top receivers.
So, this should be an interesting game between a Georgia team which prefers to run the ball more and a Texas team which prefers to throw more. Despite that, the Bulldogs are still a 12-point favorite to win tonight.
Personally, I’m thinking that the Longhorns will at least cover the spread.
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