For better or worse, 2022 has been the year of snapped streaks in college football. UConn and Kansas are going to play in bowl games. Tennessee finally beat Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide for the first time since the invention of the iPhone. Texas A&M will miss a bowl game after a nasty streak of bad losses in the SEC.
After all the mayhem, the most embarrassing streak to be snapped was when Vandy got its first SEC win since 2019. Every school has chalked up the Commodores as a free victory, but dandy Vandy finally got a conference win. Even better (or worse, depending on your fan affiliation), it was against the ranked Kentucky Wildcats.
Not to pour salt into the wound, but Kentucky now has to follow that performance up with a game against the best team in college football. The Wildcats can host, but that did not matter last week against Vanderbilt.
Rightfully so, Georgia comes into this game as a massive favorite. Can Kentucky keep this one close? Let’s catch you up to speed.
Saturday, November 19, 2022 – 03:30 PM EST at Kroger Field
What Happened Last Saturday?
You don’t just randomly lose to the punching bag of the conference at home. How did Kentucky manage to lose? Well, you first have to look at the failures of Will Levis under center. Levis barely threw for over 100 passing yards and had no touchdowns. His efficiency was poor, and the offense lacked any explosive plays.
Levis was also a nonfactor as a runner, so this offense relied solely on running backs to carry the way. It was almost enough, but a loss is a loss in the SEC. Even with fewer turnovers and penalties, the Wildcats could not convert in key moments to win this game.
Levis came into this year as a Heisman dark horse, and he is expected to go in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. If he wants that to happen, he can’t have many more performances like this.
Stetson Bennett for Heisman?
Most thought that Bennett did not deserve to be the starting quarterback last year, but he managed to win a national championship. Even with that validation, some did not think he deserved to keep the job. Well, now you have to include Bennett in the Heisman race.
This offense is not thriving in spite of Bennett. He is a key piece for the Bulldogs this year. He extends drives with his legs, and he remains efficient through the air. He had three passing touchdowns last week, and he will look to pad his stats against the Wildcats.
Bennett does not deserve to be the frontrunner, but he is certainly a dark horse this late in the year. If he plays well to finish the regular season, he could be playing for the Heisman in the SEC Championship.
Narratives matter in college football, and being the quarterback on the best team is enough to earn you some Heisman votes.
Keys to Cover
Kentucky needs Will Levis to live up to the hype in this game. To do so, they need to stay ahead of the chains to avoid hard-to-manage conversion scenarios. The Wildcats struggled on third downs against Vanderbilt, and that level of inefficiency is not going to cut it against this defense.
Georgia just needs to stay on schedule. They should avoid turnovers and handle the battle for field position. The defensive front will add pressure without blitzing, and the Bulldogs can cover with a stout secondary.
The Betting Picks
Georgia has consistently hit the under in games, and I see that happening again. The Wildcats are prone to struggling on offense, and I see that happening against the best defense in college football.
Kentucky is at a pivotal moment. After such a poor performance, they can either rally or fall. I have them falling at the hands of Georgia.
Give me the Bulldogs to cover the Cats and for the under to hit in a gritty game filled with defensive highlights.
It won’t be pretty, but Georgia will take one step closer to repeating as national champions.
NCAAF Pick: Georgia -22.5 (-105) at FanDuel
NCAAF Pick: Under 49.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook