Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Date and Time: Saturday, September 23, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Georgia Stadium, Palo Alto, CA
Opening College Football Odds: Georgia -6.5
Mississippi State vs. Georgia TV Coverage: ESPN
SEC teams that are 3-0 are generally highly regarded even though there's always a chance that they end up floundering. That's what we have with Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are in the midst of a horrid stretch of schedule that can only come with play in the SEC, starting at home against LSU, at Georgia and then at Auburn. It would be believable if we told you that MSU would lose five straight games with the duels thereafter coming at home against BYU and Kentucky followed by a game at Texas A&M.
Alas, for the time being, Nick Fitzgerald has propelled himself into the Heisman Trophy conversation. He's not an elite passer at this point, but he had a game on Saturday for sure. Now, he has 783 combined yards in his first three games of the year with 12 trips to the end zone. Putting up those types of numbers against Louisiana Tech and Charleston Southern is one thing; scoring 37 points against an LSU defense that features more than one NFL player is something else completely.
The other Dawgs have had their day in the sun as well. Georgia went on the road with a freshman quarterback and beat Notre Dame two weeks ago, and it's now in a position where it can be a player in the SEC East with Tennessee already in some trouble and Florida facing the harder of the two schedules the rest of the way.
Georgia's win over Samford last week was an easy one to forecast. The Bulldogs were huge favorites over an FCS minnow, and the 42-14 triumph was capped with Nick Chubb's 131 yards and two touchdowns.
It's amazing that the Dawgs are 3-0 at this point. They've been playing without Jacob Eason for the last couple weeks, and their last game against Samford came with three other starters, Sony Michel, Tyler Clark and Malkom Parrish all on the shelf.
Eason is the injury that is going to get the most publicity, as he's been out with a leg injury. He's walking without a brace on and is sure to be back on the field soon, but whether "soon" means Saturday is anyone's guess.
But keep in mind that Parrish is a senior cornerback who could be asked to play a huge role in this game with Fitzgerald running all over the place. This Mississippi State offense puts a lot of strain on cornerbacks, as safeties have to really commit to the running game before retreating into position to defend the pass. Without great corner play, ask LSU what happens when you're playing against Fitzgerald.
Mississippi State vs. Georgia Free Picks
We can't help but wonder if Georgia is going to end up being in a little bit of trouble in this game. If Jake Fromm is again forced into starting duties, we're not sure that we want any part of the hosts in this game. This Mississippi State team is better than the Notre Dame team that the Dawgs barely held on to beat a couple weeks ago, and we're not sure there's enough defense to hold the Bulldogs in the teens.
Fitzgerald isn't a one-man band either. Let's not forget that that Mississippi State defense is No. 3 in America in scoring and total defense, albeit against a rather cushy schedule. If the Bulldogs are able to run wild in this one as they did against LSU, they can be the bigger dogs in this fight, too to pull off an upset at all of the top online sportsbooks.
College Football ATS Pick: Mississippi State +6.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Mississippi State 27, Georgia 21