“In the SEC, and I would even say any team, the best team that has the possibility of defeating Georgia are the LSU Tigers,” Spikes said on the SEC Network.
The Bulldogs would currently project as a 15-point favorite, according to Collin Wilson of the Action Network, but both UGA and LSU have two remaining regular-season games.
Spikes noted the Tigers’ defensive front goes deeper than Freshman Player of the Year candidate Harold Perkins Jr., who ranks third in the SEC with 7 1/2 sacks.
“Ali Gaye, Mekhi Wingo, BJ Ojulari —we talk about Harold Perkins ad nauseam, and rightfully so, but I’m telling you these three guys are difference makers,” Spikes said.
“With this front, these guys are very disruptive. Then you take into consideration (LSU defensive coordinator) Matt House and his schematics putting certain guys is mismatches, I look forward to seeing this game.”
Georgia’s offensive line has been virtually bulletproof, third in the nation with just 7 sacks allowed while paving the way for a rushing game that ranks 31st in the country with 192.5 yards per game.
Former UGA tight end Ben Watson, like Spikes a panelist on SEC Football Final each Saturday night, also pointed to the battle in the trenches.
Watson, however, had more questions about the ability of the LSU offensive line to handle a Georgia defensive front spearheaded by projected Top 5 NFL pick Jalen Carter.
“I want to see the personnel in the trenches,” Watson said. “You talk about an LSU offensive line that gave up seven sacks (to Arkansas) — the fact they were able to get to Jayden Daniels and contain him.
“Can LSU’s offensive line hold up against a Georgia defensive line with Jalen Carter, and guys on the outside that have been blitzing along with players from the secondary?”
Chris Doering, a former Florida receiver who stars on the SEC Network, seemed to agree more with Watson.
“You know what Kirby (Smart) and Glenn Schumann and Will Muschamp are licking their chops about?” Doering said. “(LSU has) two freshmen tackles on each side of the line of scrimmage.”
SEC Football Final host Peter Burns, who suggested Georgia has supplanted Alabama as the league standard earlier in the week, left open the possibility for an upset.
“It will come down to individual matchups and the O-Line and D-Line,” Burns said. “When you get to the championship game anything can happen.
“We all thought Georgia would maul Alabama in the SEC Championship Game last year, and we saw what happened there.”
This will be the fifth time Georgia and LSU have met in the SEC Championship game, with the Tigers winning three of the previous four meetings including the last one in 2019 by a 37-10 count en route to winning the CFP Championship Game.
Tigers coach Brian Kelly has faced Smart before while at Notre Dame, nearly winning in 2017 (20-19) and coming close to pulling off an upset in Athens in 2019 (23-17) despite having less talent.
Kelly and Smart are two of the top candidates for SEC Coach of the Year, with Tennessee coach Josh Heupel also under consideration.