Both the Georgia Bulldogs and the Tennessee Volunteers boast 8-0 records this season, but one of their undefeated streaks must crumble on Saturday.
The Bulldogs enter the game ranked No.1 in the AP Poll with the Vols tied for second, marking only the third regular season meeting in SEC history between a No.1 and No.2 ranked side.
On the line is control of the SEC East Conference and a headstart in the race for securing a place in the conference championship game, making it one of the most hyped regular season games in recent history.
A raucous atmosphere is expected inside Georgia’s Sanford Stadium with the last remaining tickets fetching over $600, according to TickPick, as fans flock to see two top-three ranked teams in Athens for the first time.
“Our guys are excited and looking forward to a top matchup at Sanford Stadium,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “Our fanbase will be loud and proud. I want to challenge our fanbase to be - everyone talked about the Notre Dame game - we want it to be louder than that. We want them to be there earlier than that.
“We had great matchups last year at home and it really affected the game each time we had a big matchups so we will need them again and need them ready to go.”
The match will pit the Vols’ nation-leading offense of 49.4ppg against Georgia’s frugal defense, the second-best in the country that has conceded just 10.5ppg.
At the heart of Tennessee’s unstoppable offense is its quarterback Hendon Hooker who has only been intercepted once in 219 pass attempts this season, and who threw a touchdown pass in his 20th consecutive game last week – a school record.
Hooker has combined with wide receiver Jalin Hyatt for 14 touchdowns in just eight games so far this season, with Hyatt scoring multiple touchdowns in four consecutive games – another school record.
And Georgia’s hopes of containing the Vols’ offense suffered a blow this week as star linebacker Nolan Smith, who had seven tackles for loss and three sacks in eight games, was ruled out of the rest of the season with a pectoral injury.
Without Smith, the Dawgs’ defense will be more reliant on sophomore linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson who leads the team with 40 total tackles to go with 13 quarterback hurries, five tackles and two sacks.
How to watch
The game will be broadcast live on CBS, beginning at 3:30pm ET.