National Game of Interest (Week 12)

I'm hoping we see a lot of Todd Gurley this weekend. - Michael Chang

We remain preoccupied with the upcoming iteration of our oldest rivalry, but I promise we'll talk about at least one national game too.

Can we keep talking about this Auburn-Georgia line? Yesterday we talked a little bit about why we're terrified of this game. As Kyle Commenter pointed out in that thread, the 4-point line is a little off. The average margin of victory in the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry in the Mark Richt era is nearly 17 points. Seven of the last twelve meetings between our two teams have been decided by at least three scores. Recent series history indicates that we'll probably see a blow-out one way or another.

We know why people think Auburn should win -- rankings, records, and rushing offense. But many are overlooking why Georgia might have a puncher's chance. Auburn's offense, while prolific, is fairly one dimensional. They rank 110th nationally in passing yardage per game. Plainsmen QB Nick Marshall falls within the bottom half of the conference in nearly every major passing statistic. The key to beating our oldest rivals is to force them to pass, and it just so happens that Todd Grantham's much maligned unit is actually in the top-20 nationally in rushing defense.

The odds are certainly not in our favor, but, to paraphrase Lloyd Christmas, I'm saying there's a chance! I'm scared of this game, but I'm also excited as all get out.

Anyway, we're playing the most interesting game of the weekend. There's really no debating it. The game that the Vegas line indicates might be the next most competitive is our National Game of Interest by default: Washington at No. 19 UCLA (-2.5).

The pick: Washington +2.5

Why you should care: That's a great question. In all honesty, I don't really care about any game outside of ours this weekend. But the PAC-12 is a fun conference, and this game will help determine who will get demolished by play Stanford in the PAC-12 Championship Game.

Rationale: This line feels kind of like the line in our game. The Bruins are getting a lot of love for their record and ranking, but Washington has played a tougher schedule and still boasts a better scoring offense and a better scoring defense. Plus, uh, an agile husky would beat a big, slow bear in a fight. Or something. Honestly, at 9-12 in our national picks, that method is just as valid as any of the other analysis that we've done.

Go Dawgs! Auburna delenda est!

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