Between The Hedges

Athens, GA - The biggest game of the season for Georgia Tech is approaching, but it won't scout, game plan or practice for it.

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With their ACC title hopes to be decided nearly 400 miles away, the 18th-ranked Yellow Jackets will try to focus on gaining state bragging rights from No. 13 Georgia for the first time in eight years as the area rivals wrap up the regular season Saturday.

Oddsmakers from have made Georgia -8 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 67% of bets for this game have been placed on Georgia Tech +8 (View College Football bet percentages).

The Bulldogs' preseason No. 1 ranking is long gone and they have no shot at winning an SEC title, thanks to lopsided losses to Alabama and Florida. So Georgia (9-3) is left to try and strengthen its BCS standing as it goes for its first eight-game winning streak against Georgia Tech (8-3), a run that would match the Yellow Jackets' streak from 1949-56 as the longest in the series.

Georgia Tech would certainly love to end Georgia's dominance, but the Yellow Jackets have no control over the game that will decide whether it plays for the ACC title. If Virginia beats Virginia Tech on Saturday - a game that will be played at the same time as Georgia Tech-Georgia - the Yellow Jackets will represent the Coastal Division in the ACC championship game Dec. 6.

Georgia Tech finished off the conference portion of its regular-season schedule with a 41-23 win over then-No. 23 Miami on Nov. 20, routing a Hurricanes team that had won five straight and cracked the Top 25 for the first time in more than two years.

While their fate in the conference race is out of their hands, the Yellow Jackets seem more confident about their traditional season-ending game with the Bulldogs than they have in years.

"This is a good year to do it," Georgia Tech fullback Lucas Cox said. "I think we're prepared. I think we're a good team. I think we're going to go in and do it."

The Yellow Jackets have played three straight ranked teams, winning twice, and are coming off one of their best performances of the season. They rushed for 472 yards out of their triple-option offense, the second-highest total ever allowed by the Hurricanes.

Georgia has had 14 days to prepare for the unconventional, run-oriented scheme.

"They had an off week to kind of stew about it and think about how we're going to attack 'em," said Georgia Tech defensive tackle Darryl Richard, wondering what the Bulldogs must have been thinking as they watched the Yellow Jackets dominate the Hurricanes on the ground. "I hope they enjoyed the game."

The Yellow Jackets rank fourth in the nation in rushing offense at 270.8 yards per game. Jonathan Dwyer leads the team with 1,207 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, and is averaging 7.0 yards per carry.

He'll test a Georgia defense that gave up 38 points or more in three straight games before a 17-13 win at Auburn on Nov. 15.

The Bulldogs are allowing 23.8 points per game on the season, ranking 10th in the SEC. They've given up an average of 167.4 yards on the ground in their last five contests, and face a difficult test Saturday after not seeing a true option offense all season.

"I'm pretty sure it's enough time because football is football, no matter what formation somebody is in," Georgia defensive tackle Corvey Irvin said. "If you practice enough and you game plan, it can be stopped. I mean, I'm pretty sure it can be stopped because they're not undefeated. I'm not saying that to be cocky or anything, but it can be stopped."

The Bulldogs boast a tough offense of their own, one that's much more balanced than the Yellow Jackets'. With Matthew Stafford at quarterback and Knowshon Moreno running the ball, Georgia will try to keep Georgia Tech's defense off-balance and control the clock.

The Bulldogs may need to be very successful with that gameplan if they want to keep their streak in the series alive.

"It's something that's special. It's hard," Georgia senior fullback Brannan Southerland said. "It's not just this team, it's the past seven teams. You want to continue the legacy and go out as a senior on top of Tech, your biggest in-state rival. It's huge. We're working hard.

"We don't want to be the senior class that lost to Tech."

Georgia has won 33 of the last 44 matchups and leads the series 59-38-5.

Top Betting Trends:
All games in this series since 1992
GEORGIA is 11-4 against the spread versus GEORGIA TECH since 1992
GEORGIA is 13-3 straight up against GEORGIA TECH since 1992
8 of 14 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
GEORGIA is 1-0 against the spread versus GEORGIA TECH over the last 3 seasons 
GEORGIA is 2-0 straight up against GEORGIA TECH over the last 3 seasons 
1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
All games played at GEORGIA since 1992
GEORGIA is 4-3 against the spread versus GEORGIA TECH since 1992
GEORGIA is 6-2 straight up against GEORGIA TECH since 1992
4 of 7 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games played at GEORGIA over the last 3 seasons.
GEORGIA is 0-0 against the spread versus GEORGIA TECH over the last 3 seasons 
GEORGIA is 1-0 straight up against GEORGIA TECH over the last 3 seasons 
1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
Key Player Injuries
[OL] David Brown downgraded to expected to miss - Back - 11/16/08
[OL] Cord Howard upgraded to probable - Head - 11/16/08
[OT] Andrew Gardner expected to miss the rest of the season. - Shoulder - 
[DL] Vance Walker upgraded to probable - Ankle - 11/18/08
(!) [QB] Josh Nesbitt is %27?%27 - Ankle - 11/16/08
[DB] Quincy Kelly is %27?%27 - Undisclosed - 11/16/08
[CB] Jahi Word-Daniels missed last game %27?%27 - Hamstring - 11/06/08
[CB] Jerrard Tarrant has been suspended from the team. - Suspension - 07/0
[LS] Jeff Henson is out for the season. - Suspension - 09/19/08
[OT] Trinton Sturdivant is expected to miss entire season. - Knee - 08/12/
[OL] Vince Vance out for season - Knee - 10/12/08
[OT] Justin Anderson missed last game %27?%27 - Foot - 11/15/08
[WR] Tony Wilson out for season - Ankle - 10/07/08
[DL] Jeff Owens is expected to miss entire season - ACL - 08/31/08
[LB] Darius Dewberry missed last game %27?%27 - Hip - 11/15/08
[LB] Charles White is expected to miss entire season - Achilles - 09/06/08
[S] Quintin Banks is out indefinitely. - Knee - 10/22/08
[LB] Akeem Hebron out for the rest of the season - Ankle - 11/15/08

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Posted: 11/25/08 3:29PM ET

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