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Appalachian State

vs.

Georgia

College Football Pick

9/2/17

Georgia has failed to live up to expectations for the past few many seasons, so those expectations have been lowered somewhat in 2017. Still, the Bulldogs are expected to win the SEC East even though they haven’t won it since 2012. They’ll start the campaign with an underrated opponent in Appalachian State and they only open as -14 point favorites as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart will likely point to last year’s Tennessee-App. State game in order to show his team not to overlook this game. The Mountaineers took the Vols to overtime in an impressive showing. After winning 10 games, the Mountaineers return their starting quarterback and running back so the last thing Georgia wants to do is overlook them.

The Bulldogs are led by sophomore Jacob Eason at quarterback, who had an up-and-down freshman season. At times he’d look great and at others he looked like a freshman as seen in a 55.1% completion rate. If he can show more consistency, that would turn Georgia into a legit threat to win the SEC. But outside of Nick Chubb (1,130 yards, 8 TDs) and Sony Michel (840 yards), there aren’t many returning starters to help in the process. Eason will target top receiver Terry Godwin (38 receptions), while tight end Isaac Nauta (29 receptions) will likely become a bigger piece. Still, the Bulldogs will keep leaning on the ground game even with Eason under center and only two linemen returning.

The Mountaineers were great defensively last season allowing 17.8 points per game, but a lot of that was due to playing in the Sun Belt. It also can’t be forgotten that they lost 45-10 to Miami even if that Tennessee game stands out more. They return six starters, so that should be enough to not drop off, but stopping this Georgia ground game will be a handful.

To cover this game, Appalachian State will need to score some points and that’s more than possible with a four-year starter at quarterback in Taylor Lamb. While his numbers have never been huge, Lamb has led this offense to continued success in the last three seasons. Unsurprisingly, this team will once again focus on the ground game after having two rushers reach 1,000 yards a year ago. Jalin Moore (1,402 yards, 10 TDs) is joined by Terrence Upshaw, who missed 2016 due to injury. Top receiver Shaedon Meadors (45 receptions) is back to help Lamb in the passing game. The big thing will be for the offensive line to stay healthy with a couple underclassmen becoming starters.

Even with this offense’s success, it still only scored 23 points in two games against power teams last season and Georgia is no slouch in that aspect, even after some troubles last year. The Dawgs should be much better all around on the defensive side with 10 starters back and loads of depth. If this group can take the needed step to becoming an elite group, App. State could be in trouble and may not even surpass 10 points.

If that’s the case, Georgia will only need a few touchdowns to cover this game. Then again, that’s not a given either unless Eason is as improved as reports have said in the offseason. Georgia is the logical play, but nothing about this team has been trustworthy over the years, most notably in last year’s two-point win against Nicholls State early in the season.

Our Pick - Our model, using last years data, ,has App state keepong this one within the spot. Considering both teams return healthy numbers of starters to both sides of the ball, we'd give some merit to our models early season prediction. App St +14.5

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