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Why the Georgia-Notre Dame game might not be what we think it will be
From an outside perspective, the Georgia-Notre Dame game is one of the biggest games on the 2019 college football schedule. When the two teams meet in week 4, both figure to be unbeaten and likely ranked in the top-10.
Factor in the potential for bad blood stemming from last year’s College Football Playoff, and there’s a chance that it might be one of the biggest games in Sanford Stadium in quite some time.
But a deeper look at some of the analytics shows that this game might not be what it’s cracked up to be.
Bill Connelly of SBNation wrote the Notre Dame season preview in his excellent season preview series. A brief overview shows why the Fighting Irish figure to be one of the top teams. They’re expected to be double-digit favorites in nine games and return a host of contributors, led by quarterback Ian Book.
But when looking a little bit deeper, Connelly’s numbers show Notre Dame may not be able to hang with Georgia. The thesis of Connelly’s article is that Notre Dame is clearly a good team, but a step below the Alabama and Clemson’s of the world. While Georgia has not yet beaten either of those teams, the Bulldogs are closer to that neighborhood than the one Notre Dame resides in.
The projected margin of victory for the Notre Dame game using Connelly’s number is 14 for Georgia. It gives Notre Dame just a 21 percent chance of winning against the Bulldogs on Sept. 21.
And a look at what Notre Dame lost, especially on the defensive side of the ball, might explain why Georgia might be a bad matchup for the Fighting Irish.
“Linebacker Te’Von Coney and lineman Jerry Tillery were also PFF All-Americans,” Connelly wrote. “They’re gone, potentially rendering a shaky run defense (relatively speaking, anyway) shakier.
“Now the Irish have to replace Tillery, Coney, and linebacker Drue Tranquill. You could make the case that four of last year’s five best defenders are gone.”
The Bulldogs meanwhile figure to have an excellent rushing attack. Georgia returns four of its starting offensive linemen from a season ago. There’s also D’Andre Swift, who ran for 1,049 yards last season. If Notre Dame can’t stop the run, it won’t matter how good its pass rush and secondary is.
Connelly’s numbers rate Georgia as the No. 2 overall team in the S&P+. His actual preview on Georgia will arrive later this summer.
Notre Dame isn’t the team that was crushed by Alabama back in the 2012-13 national championship game. And it’s worth pointing out that it lost by a smaller margin to Clemson last season than Alabama did.
But it’s also worth mentioning now that this game — which has and will be advertised as one of the best games of the season — may not end up living up to the hype. Given the talent gap, there’s a chance when these two teams meet this game is a blowout, and not a replay of the 20-19 thriller from 2017.
Major 5-star target Kendall Milton teases upcoming announcement
Georgia landed one of its top targets in the 2020 recruiting cycle on Monday when 4-star offensive tackle Tate Ratledge committed to the Bulldogs. The addition was met with a lot of fanfare. Shortly after Ratledge’s announcement, many wondered what would be next for the Bulldogs.
Well, it looks like we got an answer to that on Tuesday. Running back Kendall Milton, the nation’s No. 3 running back and arguably Georgia’s top 2020 target at the position, tweeted that he would be announcing his top schools this coming Friday. Look for the Bulldogs to be in that mix.
I will be releasing my TOP SCHOOLS this Friday at 4 pm PST! ❤️
— Kendall Milton (@_KendallMilton) May 15, 2019
Milton, who is from Clovis, Calif., visited Georgia for G-Day. And he came away from the visit very impressed with what the Bulldogs have to offer.
“If we are specifically just talking about Georgia in this conversation, I think they did a good job,” Chris Milton, Kendall’s father, told DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell. “They [Georgia] did 100 percent a good job in displaying consistently but again so have other programs. I definitely don’t want to take away or discount anything any other program has done but speaking specifically about Georgia they absolutely did a great job.”
Georgia will need at least one running back in the 2020 class and probably two, given Georgia will definitely be losing Brian Herrien and possibly D’Andre Swift — eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft — as well.
Following Ratledge’s announcement on Monday, 5-star Georgia commit Mekhail Sherman wanted to make sure that Milton noticed the Bulldogs had two elite offensive tackle prospects.
— Mekhail Sherman🌹 (@JuicedUpK9) May 13, 2019
On Tuesday, Ratledge followed up on Milton’s announcement making sure to let the 5-star running back know he is wanted by Georgia.
You know the move 🐶 https://t.co/r0JImAgXC8
— Tate Ratledge 🐺 (@tateratledge22) May 15, 2019
The Bulldogs currently have two 5-star commitments in Sherman and offensive tackle Broderick Jones. They will likely add a few more by the time the 2020 recruiting class is wrapped up. And there may not be a more wanted target than Milton, who rates as the No. 21 overall recruit in the 2020 recruiting cycle.
Best Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Board of Regents’ vote makes ‘Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium’ official
- A salute to Aubrey Garrison and fans like him who provide unwavering support of UGA Athletics
- WATCH ‘The Blueprint’: Georgia freshman tailback Kenny McIntosh has championship plans
- Georgia commits already naming who they next want to join the 2020 recruiting class
- Georgia football podcast: Mekhail Sherman pushing for other 5-star recruits to commit to UGA
- Georgia Sports roundup: Baseball moves up in polls, Tony Locey named SEC Pitcher of the Week
- Kirby Smart makes a key point in defending Jake Fromm
- Sam Pittman is the gift that keeps on giving for Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs
- Georgia football fans celebrate another Sam Pittman recruiting win as Tate Ratledge commits
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) May 15, 2019
Another solid day for the Bulldogs in the @ncaa Athens Regional as Georgia fires a 4-under 280 and maintains its lead. Final round slated for Wednesday, with Georgia starting at 7:30 a.m. pic.twitter.com/hvOYbxfoz5
— Georgia Golf (@UGAGolf) May 14, 2019
— Georgia Baseball (@BaseballUGA) May 14, 2019
— Georgia W Tennis (@UGAWomensTennis) May 15, 2019
Good Dawg of the Day
This is Abby. She asked you to guard her blueberry while she naps. She’s saving it for later. 12/10 would protect them both with my life pic.twitter.com/K5luhhfGu0
— WeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) May 13, 2019