The SEC East will be on the line for unbeaten Tennessee over the final five games of the regular season. The third-ranked Vols have nothing but division opponents remaining as they chase a first trip to the SEC Championship Game since 2007, a stretch starting with this week’s home game against Kentucky and continuing with a trip to Georgia to start the month of November. The SEC on Monday revealed the kickoff times and television designations for its games on November 5, and Tennessee-Georgia in Athens will kick off at 3:30 pm on CBS.
The opening Saturday of November in the SEC will be headlined by two games with significant division-title implications. In addition to the Vols and Bulldogs, Alabama plays at LSU with both teams on open dates this week. Other games in the conference on that date are: Kentucky at Missouri, South Carolina at Vanderbilt, Liberty at Arkansas, Auburn at Mississippi State and Florida at Texas A&M.
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Georgia, the defending national champions, are also unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in both polls heading into this week’s game against Florida in the annual World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party game in Jacksonville.
The Bulldogs have won the past five games against the Vols dating back to 2016, when Jauan Jennings came down with a Hail Mary touchdown on the final play of the game to give unbeaten Tennessee a wild 34-31 win at Sanford Stadium. All five of Tennessee’s losses to Georgia in that span were by at least 23 points. The Vols led 10-7 after the first quarter at Neyland Stadium last season, but the Bulldogs ran away with a 41-17 win.
Georgia has been largely untested so far during its national title defense, and its early-season blowouts of Oregon and South Carolina look better with the Ducks and Gamecocks both ranked and unbeaten since getting crushed by the Bulldogs. There was the sleepwalk against Kent State, which was within 10 points of Georgia early in the fourth quarter, and the scare at Missouri. The Tigers surprisingly jumped out to a 13-0 lead and led 22-12 early in the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs scored two touchdowns, taking the lead with four minutes left and winning 26-22.
Then came blowout wins against Auburn (42-10) and Vanderbilt (55-0) as Georgia headed into an open date to prepare for a backloaded schedule. The Bulldogs have the annual rivalry with the Gators this weekend before hosting Tennessee. Georgia then will have to navigate road games against Kentucky and Mississippi State to round out conference play.
Georgia ranks fourth in the country in total defense (247 yards per game) and second in scoring defense (9.1 points per game) despite having to replace five first-round NFL Draft picks from last season’s all-world defense.
The Bulldogs also have been supremely efficient on offense with Stetson Bennett back at quarterback. Despite a new-look backfield and injuries at wide receiver, Georgia ranks second in the nation in total offense (526.6 yards per game) – Tennessee is No. 1 at 571.7 yards per game – eighth in scoring (41.7 points per game).