Peach Bowl Betting Preview – Georgia vs. Cincinnati
Two of the best Group of Five teams have fallen by the wayside in bowl season. Previously unbeaten Coastal Carolina lost to Liberty in the Cure Bowl the day after Christmas, and Ball State crushed San Jose State in the Arizona Bowl on New Year’s Eve. That leaves Cincinnati as the lone remaining unbeaten team in the Group of Five, and the Bearcats will look to prove themselves in the same situation AAC colleague UCF found itself in three years ago. A Cincinnati win over the Georgia Bulldogs could lead to a national championship claim, but the Bearcats have to take care of the Bulldogs first.
The Peach Bowl will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday, January 1, at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN.
College Football Betting Odds
Cincinnati is more than a touchdown underdog in this game. Georgia sat a lot of its starters in the Sugar Bowl against Baylor last season, but only offensive lineman Ben Cleveland and linebacker Monty Rice opted out of this game after the regular season ended.
Georgia Offense vs. Cincinnati Defense
J.T. Daniels has lit a fire under this offense. The USC transfer has been far more efficient than either of Georgia’s previous two starting quarterbacks, leading to speculation over what would have happened if Daniels started the season. He is completing 66.7 percent of his passes for 839 yards (10.4 YPA) with nine touchdowns and an interception in his three starts. That has made this offense much better as opposing defenses can no longer load up against the run.
The ground game is solid with the top five running backs averaging at least 5.6 YPC. Zamir White leads the way with 740 yards and 10 touchdowns, but James Cook has been the big play threat all year. Unfortunately Cook (and brother Dalvin of the Minnesota Vikings) won’t play this weekend after their father unexpectedly passed away earlier this week. That will lead to more carries for White, Kenny McIntosh, and Daijun Edwards.
This receiving corps has a ton of talent even if the production hasn’t been great. George Pickens is a future star and showcased his potential with great games against Missouri and Mississippi State, catching 13 passes for 213 yards and three touchdowns in those two wins. Kearis Jackson and Jermaine Burton have posted a little better numbers over the course of the season, and they were highly-rated recruits too.
Cincinnati has one of the best defenses in the country. The Bearcats are allowing 15.5 PPG and 309.6 YPG, and they are giving up an FBS best 4.1 yards per play. This secondary has been superb with three players named First Team All-AAC, but star safety James Wiggins is questionable to play due to a leg injury.
Cincinnati Offense vs. Georgia Defense
The Bearcats run the ball very well. Gerrid Doaks leads the way with 673 yards (4.7 YPC) and seven touchdowns, but he is considered questionable to play. Doaks has told reporters he is good to go, so that is a plus for Cincy. Jerome Ford should see some action too, and he has 386 yards (5.9 YPC) and seven touchdowns of his own.
AAC Offensive Player of the Year Desmond Ridder has had an excellent year running this offense. Ridder has run for 609 yards (7.3 YPC) and 12 touchdowns, and he is completing 66.4 percent of his passes for 2,090 yards (8.6 YPA) with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. It will be difficult for him to have success against Georgia though, as the Bulldogs had the best defense in the country per Bill Connelly’s SP+.
UGA is allowing 19.9 PPG and 322.8 YPG this season. Florida and Alabama are the only two teams that have had a lot of success against this defense. The Bulldogs are allowing an FBS best 2.3 YPC and 69.3 YPG on the ground, and the front seven is loaded with talent.
Cincinnati is going to be the sentimental favorite, but Georgia is a bad matchup for the Bearcats. The Bulldogs can stuff the run and shut down this offense, and they will win this game by 14 points or more.