After finding the Georgia Bulldogs and the Auburn Tigers to be near-equals statistically, I wanted to look beyond the stat sheet and delve into the historical minutiae, not because it necessarily bears any relevance to what will happen on the field on Saturday, but because, hey, we call it "Too Much Information" for a reason.
Here are a few data for your consideration:
- Despite losing six of the last eight meetings to Georgia, Auburn leads the all-time series standings, 53-52-8. With a win on Saturday, the Bulldogs would even the series record for the first time since the Tigers’ 1987 win in Athens snarled the rivalry at 42-42-7.
- The Red and Black’s four-game winning streak over the Plainsmen is the longest by either team in the rivalry since the Tigers took four straight from Georgia between 1987 and 1990. Not since Auburn won six in a row over the Bulldogs from 1953 to 1958 has either team beaten the other more than four times consecutively; not since a stretch extending from 1944 to 1948 has Georgia reeled off five series victories over the Orange and Blue.
- Vince Dooley went 3-1 against the Tigers in his first four trips to the Loveliest Village as the head coach of the Bulldogs. Mark Richt has gone 3-1 against the Plainsmen in his first four trips to Auburn, as well. Coach Dooley’s fifth trip to face his alma mater in the Yellowhammer State ended in a 27-10 setback that gave the Red and Black their largest margin of defeat against Auburn in 16 years.
- Even discounting the Bulldogs’ losses to South Carolina and Mississippi State in games that were close heading into the fourth quarter, Georgia is 0-3 this season in games decided by a touchdown or less. No Mark Richt-coached team has ever lost four nailbiters in a single autumn.
- Coach Richt’s 55-27 career record in SEC play includes marks of 27-7 on opponents’ home fields and 24-9 against the Western Division. Currently, the Classic City Canines are 0-2 in outings opposite teams from the West, yet Coach Richt has never finished an autumn winless against the other division.
- We’ll know early which way the wind is blowing: Georgia is 72-9 under Mark Richt when the Bulldogs score first, but 23-23 when the other team puts the first ticks on the scoreboard. This season, the Red and Black are 5-0 when taking the initial lead and 0-5 when falling behind from the outset.
Given the home field disadvantage and the propensity for upsets that have typified this series, and given the statistical similarities between the two squads, this is the game in which a 5-5 team is as likely as ever to beat a 10-0 team. Unfortunately, even in circumstances such as these, such a result is not very likely.
The 38-27 prediction offered by jd is legend seems to me to lowball both teams’ likely tally, but only by a little. It pains me to say so, but I think the Red and Black are going to lose a shootout to the No. 1 team in the nation, regardless of what the pollsters say.
My Prediction: Auburn Tigers 41, Georgia Bulldogs 31. (I hate Auburn.)
Go ‘Dawgs! Auburna delenda est!