When the University of Georgia Bulldogs take on the Arkansas Razorbacks in the SEC Championship Game, there is always hope that the home team can pull off an upset victory. UGA is a perennial football powerhouse that usually doesn’t disappoint their fans, winning or ruining games against most of the other SEC teams. Arkansas is a whole different story. They’ve never really been a top-flight football program, and recently, their poor performance has been downright embarrassing.
History Of UGA-Razorbacks Conflicts
After six seasons of missing the playoffs, the Arkansas Razorbacks finally made it to the Big Dance in 2014. They took on Louisiana State in the Sugar Bowl, and although they lost by a single touchdown, it was a step in the right direction for a program that hadn’t made it to a bowl game since 1992. This year, they were supposed to play in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, but got bounced around the SEC. First they beat South Carolina in the opener, then they lost to Alabama the following week. Since Arkansas’ best chance at winning the SEC came from a tie against Vanderbilt, they had to go to the championship.
Arkansas’ Shaky Ground Game
A year after finally getting to the dance, Arkansas is still searching for their first win. They’ve lost three straight games, including a close one against Louisiana in October. Leading up to the showdown with Georgia, they were averaging just 18.3 points per game, which ranked last in the SEC. Their two losses came from Mississippi State and Florida (twice).
Arkansas’ offense has been absolutely awful this year, especially compared to their other seasons. In 2016, they averaged 26.8 points per game, in 2015, 27.3 points per game, and 29.2 points per game in 2014. The inconsistency among those numbers is truly amazing. For a team that prides themselves on being “Arkansas tough,” the attack on the opposing football team has generally been lackluster at best. They’ve had trouble with speed, big plays, and scoring in general. And this year has been no different. Despite averaging only 18.3 points per game this year, they’ve still managed to give up 37.8 points per game to opposing offenses. In fact, the two touchdowns they’ve scored per game this year both came against Vanderbilt. So, it’s no wonder why they haven’t been able to win a game this year.
Why UGA Should Win This Game
With just one loss this year, the University of Georgia is in an excellent position to make it to their third straight SEC Championship Game. They’ve dominated most of their games this year, including a 45-7 victory over South Carolina and a 42-20 win over Florida. They’re also coming off a 26-point win over Vanderbilt in their last game. Although they did lose to LSU earlier in the year, fans should still be encouraged by the performance against the undefeated Tigers.
It’s not like UGA hasn’t been playing fantastic football all year. They’ve outscored their opponents by a combined total of 526-252, which is the fourth best in the SEC. Even though they’ve had trouble scoring touchdowns this year, they’ve done an excellent job of protecting the football, recording nine interceptions throughout the season. Most of those interceptions came against LSU, Florida, and Tennessee, so it’s not like they’re getting picked on that often. It’s clear that UGA’s defensive backs are having a great year, so much so that Mike Evans decided to come back for his senior year, making him the highest profile graduate transfer from a Florida school to play for the Bulldogs. With Evans and A.J. Johnson leading the charge, UGA can be confident in defending the pass and potentially taking down the SEC’s best offense in the process.