The five players who will lead UGA to a win over Auburn

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The Friday Five, Auburn edition

D’Andre Swift, sophomore running back

D’Andre Swift’s last two games have been the best of his Georgia career. If the Bulldogs are going to push their winning streak to three games, he’s going to have to play well again. Swift put up 104 yards and a touchdown against the Florida Gators, and then followed that up with a career-high 156-yard rushing performance against Kentucky.

Of course, Swift has a history of making big plays against Auburn, as his 64-yard touchdown in the 2017 SEC Championship Game essentially put the game on ice. If Swift can bust another long run like that one, and he’s certainly capable of doing so, it will be a very good day for UGA.

Ben Cleveland, sophomore guard

Ben Cleveland is expected to return to action after missing the past five games. Should he start, he’ll have a huge task in blocking Auburn’s Derrick Brown. The defensive tackle, and projected first round pick, is a real problem even for healthy offensive linemen, let alone ones coming off of injury. Brown, a 5-star recruit Georgia very much wanted  out of Lanier (Ga.) High School back in the 2016 cycle, has 9 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks so far this season.

It will be worth watching how well Cleveland plays, both against Brown and from a health standpoint. If Cleveland still isn’t healthy, it’s not the end of the world given that freshman Cade Mays and senior Kendall Baker are more than capable replacements. But for Georgia to be the best version of itself in 2018, it needs Cleveland to play and play well.

Solomon Kindley, sophomore guard

We’re also going to highlight Georgia’s other guard this week because blocking Brown is just that important. He, along with the rest of Auburn’s deep and talented front seven, was a big reason that Auburn was able to come from behind and beat Texas A&M last week.

Related:  Georgia OG Solomon Kindley: Auburn coming ‘to destroy our hopes and dreams’

There’s also the fact that Georgia’s starting center, Lamont Gaillard, is also hobbled, as he hyperextended his knee against Kentucky. All signs point to him playing, but if he’s not 100 percent, he’s going to need to lean on his guards to help him out. Solomon Kindley had a great game last week, as Georgia was able to rush for a season-best 331 rushing yards. If he can open up holes against Auburn and help cover for Gaillard, it will be another successful day for the Bulldogs.

Deandre Baker, senior cornerback

We’ve talked a lot about Tyson Campbell in this spot in recent weeks, but we’re going to shift our focus to the other cornerback position this week. At some point teams have to at least try and throw at Deandre Baker.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a wise decision, as he’s one of the best cornerbacks in the country. But with Auburn’s run game floundering—the Tigers rushed for just 19 yards against Texas A&M—expect them to try and attack Georgia through the passing game. Baker hasn’t intercepted a pass since September, but look for that to change this weekend as we think Baker will grab one of he passes of Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

Brenton Cox, freshman defensive end

Again, we’re going to highlight a front seven freshman. Last week it was defensive tackle Jordan Davis and this week it’s defensive end Brenton Cox. The freshman picked up his first sack of his college career last week, as he perfectly caved in the pocket, kept contain and wrapped Kentucky’s Terry Wilson.

The Bulldogs had a season-best 4.0 sacks last week against the Wildcats. If Georgia is able to get a consistent pass rush like throughout the rest of the season, the Bulldogs are going to become a very tough out against Alabama in the SEC Championship game.

College Football Picks, Week 10

Again, we went 3-3. We’re trying hard for an over .500 week and we’re feeling good about our picks this week. But please don’t put your actual money on these picks.

No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 24 Auburn, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN, WSB Radio 95.5 FM/750 AM

Auburn isn’t a good running team, and they’re not great at stopping the run either. The Tigers have a lot more talent than both Kentucky and Florida, and I definitely can see a world in watch Auburn backdoors their way to a cover. But to beat Georgia you have to run the ball. LSU did it to the tune of 275 rushing yards this year. I don’t think Auburn’s going to be able to do that, and thus I don’t think they’re going to win. Georgia 41 (-14), Auburn 17

South Carolina at No. 15 Florida, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN

Since losing to Georgia, the Gators have been an absolute trainwreck. The quarterback situation has gotten out of control, and Dan Mullen is answering questions about fights in the locker room. This South Carolina team has been a little underwhelming, but they also know how to win close games. And because of their ability to stay calm in high-pressure situations, we think Will Muschamp and company will get a win in Gainesville this weekend. South Carolina 20 (+6), Florida 16

No. 10 Ohio State vs. No. 18 Michigan State, 12 p.m. ET, FOX

Ohio State, despite coming in at No. 10, is still very much alive in the College Football Playoff hunt. They’ll have a chance to prove themselves on Saturday against a good but not great Michigan State team. I know the Buckeyes have been a mess so far this season, but I can’t shake the feeling that they’re going to somehow sneak their way into the College Football Playoff. Give me the Buckeyes this weekend, setting up a huge game between them and the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines in two weeks. Ohio State 38 (-3.5), Michigan State 26

No. 16 Mississippi State vs. No. 1 Alabama, 3:30 p.m. ET CBS

We’re now officially putting Alabama in Clemson territory, in that it doesn’t matter what the spread is, we’re going to pick them to cover. I think Mississippi State has a better defense than LSU and might knock Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa around a little bit. But the Mississippi State offense, despite a recent turnaround, isn’t good enough to push Alabama. The Bulldogs very nearly beat Alabama at home last year, but I think this year’s Alabama team is just going to overwhelm them. Alabama 33 (-24), Mississippi State 6

No. 11 Kentucky vs. Tennessee, 3:30 p.m. ET SEC Network

This is a “prove it” game for Kentucky. The Wildcats won’t be playing for the SEC Championship after getting kicked in the teeth against Georgia. Can they respond and beat a Tennessee team they’re better the? I’m not sure if they can yet, but if Kentucky coach Mark Stoops and company want to play in a New Year’s Six game, this is a game they cannot lose. Tennessee isn’t all that great, but it’ll be frisky at home.  Kentucky 17, Tennessee (+6) 13

No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 17 Boston College, 8 p.m., ABC

Again, the Tigers are big favorites this week. They covered a 17-point spread at home against NC State, a 17-point spread on the road against Florida State and a 40-point spread against Louisville. The Eagles will be the toughest test yet, especially with College GameDay in town. But until they let me down, I’m picking Clemson to cover. Clemson 44 (-20), Boston College 12

Record on the season (Against the Spread): 32-25-2

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