- The Peach Bowl, featuring #9 Georgia (7-2) and #8 Cincinnati (9-0) will kick off on Friday, Jan. 1st, at 12:00 PM EST
- Cincinnati comes into this game as the undefeated G5 rep for the NY6 bowls
- Check out the odds for the game and key information about the matchup in the article below
No matter where you stand on the debate about Group of 5 teams and the College Football Playoff, the Peach Bowl matchup between Cincinnati (9-0) and Georgia (7-2) should be of great interest.
On one side we have the Bearcats, one of only three teams in the nation to preserve a perfect record that included at least nine wins. Their strength of schedule was deemed too weak to be worthy of a CFP spot, though, so instead they’ll play earlier on New Year’s Day (12:00 PM ET kick off) against a strong but imperfect Bulldogs team.
And to prove their worth against a big, bad Power 5 school, Cincinnati will have to overcome a 6.5-point spread as underdogs.
Georgia vs Cincinnati Peach Bowl Odds
|#9 Georgia||-290||-6.5 (-122)||Over 50.5 (-114)|
|#8 Cincinnati||+225||+6.5 (+100)||Under 50.5 (-106)|
Odds taken Dec. 30 at FanDuel
How They Got Here
We know that Cincinnati got here by winning all of its games — but how impressive is that, really?
The Bearcats defeated three ranked opponents this year (at least, they were ranked at the time of the game): #22 Army, #16 SMU and #20 Tulsa. The Bearcats blew out SMU, 42-13, and beat Army soundly at 24-10. But a couple of weeks ago, with a final chance to really impress voters, they merely scraped by Tulsa, 27-24.
Cincinnati’s strength of schedule ranks 84th out of 127 FBS schools. If that’s enough to keep a 9-0 team out of the playoff, so be it. What the Bearcats do best on the field is defend. They rank 13th in the nation in total defense (314.4 yards allowed/game) and eighth in scoring (16 points allowed/game). But again, some of that is due to their opponent quality.
On the other hand, Georgia’s opponent quality is certainly less of a question. The Bulldogs were deemed by ESPN to have the ninth toughest schedule in FBS, which included top-10 foes Alabama, Florida and Auburn.
Of course, Georgia lost two of those games: 41-24 to Alabama and 44-28 to Florida. Facing tougher opponents isn’t impressive on its own if you don’t hang with them or beat them — but at least we know Georgia has had to face the cream of college football’s crop.
Players to Watch
This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who follows the Bearcats, but their player to watch is quarterback Desmond Ridder. His position makes him the obvious candidate as the focal point of the offense, and he makes good on that notion by leading the team in the air and on the ground.
Desmond Ridder with a DIME for 6! pic.twitter.com/APMkXVRNP3
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 14, 2020
Ridder accounts for roughly 300 total yards of offense per game, and he has 12 rushing touchdowns to go with 17 passing touchdowns. He’s electric, and should give Georgia’s 15th-ranked total defense some looks it hasn’t seen before.
For Georgia, the player to watch is one of the guys who’ll try to stop Ridder: linebacker Azeez Ojulari. He leads the team in sacks (6.5) and tackles for loss (9.5), with a penchant for blowing plays up in the backfield.
Studying Azeez Ojulari, Alex Leatherwood was a tough matchup all night for Ojulari.
After slipping through OL, Ojulari’s closing burst to deliver the boom is explosive. #CRFB pic.twitter.com/TkU7BKgsIA
— Damian Parson ? (@DP_NFL) December 23, 2020
The Bulldogs possess the nation’s top run defense (69.3 yards allowed/game), so it’ll be on Ridder to out-duel Ojulari and co.
Georgia has covered its past two games against the spread rather comfortably after dropping the previous four by an average ATS margin of 13.5 points. They are 1-1 ATS as a single-digit favorite this year.
⬆️ Representation of our defense’s performance against Missouri.
⬇️ Video evidence.#GoDawgs #ATD pic.twitter.com/yJAXcV1Vb2
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) December 16, 2020
Cincinnati has failed to cover ATS in consecutive games, after a four-game onslaught in which it covered by an average margin of more than 20 points. The Bearcats were only underdogs once this season, covering by 30 on a 1-point spread, but they’ve won four straight as an underdog dating back to prior seasons.
So you know what? Let’s ride that underdog mentality with the Bearcats, at least ATS. Georgia’s stout defense makes them a far better moneyline pick if you want to go that route.
Pick: Cincinnati +6.5 (+100)