A common question emerging is the level of effort and motivation that the Georgia Bulldogs will have against Texas football in the 2018 Sugar Bowl.
Texas football can’t control what the Georgia Bulldogs come out like in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1. Whether Georgia is motivated to cap off the season in the right fashion, despite missing the College Football Playoff, or it comes out flat isn’t within the locus of control for this Texas football team. We all know that Texas football is likely to come out of the gates firing since it is playing in its first New Year’s Six Bowl (or BCS equivalent) game since the 2009 campaign.
Head Texas football coach Tom Herman has his team in fantastic position to end the season on the right foot. Herman brought the Texas Longhorns from the point of not winning more than seven games since 2013 to competing in the Big 12 Championship Game in just two seasons in the Forty Acres. It’s great to witness how far this group came this year.
Now, the Horns can round things out the right way with a win over a top five team in Georgia. This will be the first time that Georgia and Texas meet since 1984. The all-time series between them favors Texas 3-1. Georgia got the best of Texas last time the teams faced, though.
Georgia comes into this game with a No. 5 ranking in the nation in the latest College Football Playoff poll. Its loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game kept them out of the Playoff and from returning to the national title game. Georgia was so close to winning the national title last year that it has to hurt getting this spot in 2018.
The quarterback that devastated the Dawgs last season was Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, and this year it was Jalen Hurts. Georgia can’t seem to catch a break with the way Alabama positions its quarterbacks. The 2016 SEC Offensive Player of the Year victimized the Dawgs to the tune of 110 total yards and two touchdowns in the second half.
If not for the loss to the LSU Tigers during the regular season, Georgia might have found its way into the Playoff field even with the loss to the Crimson Tide. The issue for Georgia is that the wins over the Kentucky Wildcats and Florida Gators were nice, but didn’t prove enough. Georgia was pretty lucky to end up with the No. 5 ranking ahead of the Ohio State Buckeyes.
A two-loss record pushed the Dawgs to the Sugar Bowl against the Horns. Georgia opened as an 11.5-point favorite over Texas which is one of the most lopsided lines of any of the New Year’s Six Bowl games. Head coach Kirby Smart has his team in a good position it seems.
Motivation and effort could be a question for the Dawgs. That worry is warranted since we’ve seen SEC teams show out poorly in the past in a situation like this. The Auburn Tigers last year didn’t have the best game of the year in the Peach Bowl against the UCF Knights. Another example that people will jump to is Alabama against the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2013 Sugar Bowl. But, Georgia should be a different case in this game and come out strong.