Kentucky Wildcats v Georgia Bulldogs
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No. 1 Georgia needed a Herculean effort from tight end Brock Bowers in the waning minutes of a 27-20 win over Auburn to survive its biggest scare of the season. Close calls happen all the time in conference games, especially on the road, but the Tigers were a lightweight compared to what lays ahead for the Bulldogs in Week 6 when No. 20 Kentucky comes to Athens, Georgia. The Wildcats, by comparison, are a heavyweight and pose a greater threat than any other team left on Georgia's regular-season schedule.

Wait, what? Did the schedule change? Georgia's biggest hurdle in its run to the SEC Championship Game can't actually be Kentucky, right? 

It is. 

For context: The Auburn offensive line, which is far from elite, reset the line of scrimmage on a consistent basis vs. Georgia 219 yards rushing without the threat of a passing game. Simply put, Kentucky is a perfect case of "wrong team, wrong time" for the Bulldogs. 

The Wildcats are fresh off of a dominating 33-14 win over Florida in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the score indicated. Running back Ray Davis rushed for 280 yards and three touchdowns. He probably could have broken the 600-yard mark if coach Mark Stoops had not throttled down in the second half. Davis' success is only part of the story, though. Kentucky has reestablished its identity as one of the toughest teams in college football. Win or lose, the Wildcats leave opponents with bloody noses, broken jaws and swollen eyes on a weekly basis.

"Looking forward to playing a really physical Stoops team," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said this week. "Every time we play these guys, they're physical. When Coach [Mark] Richt was here, it was physical. Kentucky-Georgia is just a physical, physical football game. Because they brand their football behind that, and so do we. I have a lot of respect for Coach Stoops and the program he's built and the job they've done."

Smart was talking about the history. The future, however, is more concerning. 

This isn't the same Georgia team that won back-to-back national championships ... and that's not a compliment. The Bulldogs defensive front was absolutely dominant over the last two seasons, but it has taken a turn in the wrong direction this season. Georgia ranks No. 11 among SEC teams with 5.6 tackles for loss per game and No. 13 with 1.6 sacks per game. Conversely,  Kentucky is tied for first with 4 sacks allowed per game and tied for third with 21 tackles for loss allowed among SEC schools. 

"As far as the defensive line part, I never felt like we had -- we had a lot of the same defensive linemen this year that we had last year, outside of Jalen [Carter], who really didn't play most of the year," Smart said. "So we got plenty of D-linemen good enough to do things and execute. Just don't have disruptive people. So you got to find other ways to do things defensively to try to get people negative plays."

Dawgs must get right before second-half slate

A quick trip to Vanderbilt in Week 7 predates a midseason bye, which is a perfect chance to hit the reset button, expand the playbook for quarterback Carson Beck and get ready for the second-half run. The next month features the annual rivalry game with Florida in Jacksonville (Oct. 28) followed by home games against No. 21 Missouri (Nov. 4) and No. 16 Ole Miss (Nov. 11). Capping the run is a Nov. 18 trip to Neyland Stadium to take on No. 22 Tennessee

The Volunteers are tough at home, but quarterback Joe Milton III has shown a tendency to try to do too much through air. If he forces throws against this Georgia secondary, things will get sideways. The back end of the Bulldogs defense remains elite despite receiving little help from the front seven. Sophomore Malaki Starks is one of the top defensive backs in the country, and veteran Tykee Smith has evolved into a star opposite Starks through five games. 

Still, the Tennessee game is a tricky bookend to a conference slate that, starting this weekend, will feature plenty of haymakers.  Georgia has handled those punches well during its time atop the landscape, but this is far from the same squad. Bowers is a star, yes, but there's only so much he can do

Georgia has an identity crisis that has to be fixed if it intends to extend its winning streak to 23 games. The Bulldogs don't have the luxury of time right now, though. Kentucky, despite being two touchdown underdogs, certainly won't wait.