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DawgNation's invading Louisiana in October.

DawgNation Invasion: LSU’s on the rise, and UGA’s schedule suddenly seems tougher

Brandon Adams

One of the most popular narratives at the beginning of the season was that the schedule makers had done Georgia a favor.

UGA was thought to be facing just the 82nd-toughest slate in the country according to ESPN’s preseason FPI data. It’s easy to see how this conclusion was drawn. There’s no high-profile non-conference game like the one UGA played at Notre Dame in 2017. Division rivals Florida and Tennessee are both breaking in new coaches after disastrous seasons, and UGA avoids Alabama — at least until a possible matchup in the SEC Championship Game.

However, opinions can evolve and an evolution has occurred about some of UGA’s upcoming opponents, namely LSU and Kentucky.

LSU spent an offseason harvesting meager expectations after losing four times in 2017, but thus far has been better than expected. LSU scored a huge win in week one against Miami and then took down Auburn on the road two weeks later. The Tigers are now ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll.

Likewise, Kentucky — a perennial doormat in the SEC East — broke a 31-year drought vs. Florida and then knocked off Mississippi State last week to vault the Wildcats into the AP Poll at No. 17.

The rising profiles of LSU and Kentucky have played a part in changing the perception of UGA’s schedule too. ESPN FPI now ranks the Bulldogs’ remaining schedule 38th-toughest in the country and TeamRankings has it at at No. 4.

Georgia travels to Kentucky Nov. 3, but before the Bulldogs head toward the Bluegrass State, there’s an even bigger road trip to consider: LSU and the upcoming DawgNation Invasion.

It was already slated to be one of the biggest parties of the year, but it’s turned into one of the biggest games as well.

This will be UGA’s first game at LSU since 2008 — a contest UGA won 52-38. The programs have only played three times since then — the most recent being a UGA win in Sanford Stadium in 2013. However, UGA’s limited history with LSU won’t dampen spirits for the trip to Louisiana.

DawgNation has had this game circled on its calendars since before last season ended, and much the same way South Bend, Ind. and Pasadena, Calif. were painted red and black, expect thousands of UGA fans to fill up Death Valley on Oct. 13 to cheer on the Bulldogs as they take another step back toward the College Football Playoff and deal with a schedule that’s a lot more challenging in reality than it appeared on paper in the offseason.