ATHENS — Georgia football has opened as a 12 1/2-point over Notre Dame in the teams’ 8 p.m. Saturday showdown at Sanford Stadium, per VegasInsider.com.
The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs (3-0) face the No. 7-ranked Fighting Irish (2-0) in the first non-conference matchup of Top 10 ranked teams at Sanford Stadium since 1966. Back then, it was a No. 7-ranked UGA team beating at No. 5 Georgia Tech team 23-14.
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Plenty has changed since then, including the potential ramifications. The College Football Playoff Committee will surely be looking on, as both Georgia and Notre Dame are championship contenders.
Both the Bulldogs and the Irish are coming off their most impressive performances of the season.
Georgia beat Arkansas State 55-0 in Sanford Stadium on Saturday, while later that day Notre Dame pounded New Mexico 66-14.
Irish coach Brian Kelly, who led Notre Dame to an undefeated regular season in 2018 en route to the CFP, said his played understand the challenge waiting for them.
“Make no mistake about, they understand the caliber of play that is going to be needed at Georgia,” Kelly said on his Sunday teleconference.
“Certainly, when you have Georgia, the No. 3-ranked team in the country, on national television, it’s (ESPN) GameDay, all the eyes are on you,” Kelly said. “That’s why you play these games, so the guys are pretty excited about it.”
It’s the first time the ESPN GameDay set has been in Athens since a 44-41 Georgia win over LSU on Sept. 28, 2013. That was also the most recent time two top 10 teams played in Sanford Stadium.
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Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said Saturday his program aims to take a business-as-usual approach to Saturday’s game with Notre Dame.
“As far as the stage, the biggest thing we can do is let the players relax and play,” Smart said. “The team that makes the fewest mistakes will usually win that game. The team that overanalyzes it, hypes it up and makes it bigger than it is and makes it larger than life, sometimes that gets you in trouble.
“We’ve played in a lot of big games, we’ve got a lot of kids in that team room in our building that have played in big football games, so they’re not going to be intimidated by that.”
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