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Staff picks: Tennessee vs. Georgia

The picks are in.

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tennessee has a tall task this afternoon, taking on No. 1 Georgia at Neyland stadium. Coming off a dreadful performance last week at Missouri, there isn’t much confidence in this one for the fanbase. As a staff, we’re not too confident either.

The picks are in, and we’re all on the Bulldogs.

Terry: Georgia 38, Tennessee 20

I want to believe — Neyland’s role will be very real here. But in the end, I think Georgia eventually rolls. I think this game could look a lot like the 2021 version, which saw the Volunteers start fast but fall apart late.

Tennessee is just too banged up at linebacker and in the secondary. Building off of that, I don’t think this offense will be able to match Georgia for four quarters. If Tennessee caught Georgia in September, my opinion is very different. But Kirby has this team peaking right now. The Bulldogs win big.

Nick: Georgia 34, Tennessee 17

The Vols will put up some points, but the playbook as been so pared down due to a litany of issues, there’s little chance it’s enough points to beat this UGA team.

Just avoid injuries, get some young guys playing time in the second half and move on.

I’m not mailing in it in on the season or anything, but I’d say we can realize this team’s ceiling due to a number of reasons:

1) all the talent lost from last year; 2) this year’s injuries; 3) the offensive scheme’s shortcomings and 4) the depth on defense and the offensive line.

I told everybody to enjoy last year, because those kind of magical seasons don’t come along all that often so early in a coach’s tenure. But with recruiting going the way it is, and all the young talent either already here or en route, the future can still be bright.

I hope the veteran defensive lineman in the middle take some pride and really bring it today, along with EDGE guys like Tyler Baron, James Pearce and Joshua Josephs —because the LBs and DBs will need the help.

UGA’s offense is completing 72 percent of its passes and averages 7.1 yards per-play.

Being at home helps, but I just don’t see the offense being able to put up enough points against the back-to-back National Champions, with the Bulldogs allowing just 4.6 yards per-play and stopping opposing teams nearly 72 percent of the time on third downs.

Always got the fingers crossed to be wrong, though.

Craig: Georgia 34, Tennessee 17

I want to believe UT can win this game. I really do. But it’s impossible to ignore the talent and depth edge that Georgia holds across the roster except for perhaps a few spots.

The Vols will be in it early, feeding off a frenzied home crowd, perhaps holding a one-score lead in the second quarter. But Georgia will adapt and weather the early excitement and grind Tennessee’s defense down with its run game. The Vols won’t be able to run like they want, and Milton won’t be able to connect on enough third down passes to sustain drives.

Tennessee will be in it for three quarters. Too bad there’s four quarters.

Matthew: Georgia 45, Tennessee 14

I’m sorry guys, I just don’t seeing this being remotely competitive after what I’ve seen from this team in big games.

Last week was the biggest did a Heupel team has laid, and the worst part? The team that beat that Mizzou team is coming to town now, and at full strength. Not to say I’ve given up hope, this was the L on the schedule that always felt inevitable, but if Tennessee can’t mount some sort of offense early and hold Georgia under 17 points in the first half, UGA is going to crush the Vols in the middle eight and carry it over into the second half.

Between the quarterback play and this team being unable to run the ball when they’re trailing because they’re forced to throw, this is a doomsday matchup of the highest proportions.

Christian: Georgia 45, Tennessee 13

I’m going to keep this one pretty short — I don’t think this game is going to be close. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had such little faith in a Tennessee team to not pick up a win. And this is nothing against Tennessee’s roster, coaches, etc. Georgia is just the significantly better program right now.

Tennessee’s defense is too thin on the depth chart to make an impact against the run and I don’t think their offense has what it takes to move the ball against the Georgia defense. I want to be proven wrong, I really do — but I think we see Georgia have the same defensive game plan Mizzou has last week, take away the run and make Milton beat them. Spoiler alert: he won’t.