What the national media is saying before huge Georgia-Notre Dame contest
The No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs have a chance to make a statement on Saturday, as they host the No. 7 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. And weirdly enough, most in the national media are expecting Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs to do just that.
A smattering of national voices have already chimed in on the game and expect the Bulldogs to not only win, but cover the 14-point spread in the game.
No voice has been more vocal in predicting the outcome of the game than that of ESPN’ Paul Finebaum.
“I’m expecting what always happens when Notre Dame goes on the road against a top 5 team — they get destroyed,” Finebaum said on ESPN’s Get Up earlier this week. “You hate to call a game on a Tuesday, but I’m calling it. Notre Dame is not going to compete in this game, they do not matchup up well with Georgia. Georgia is so much faster. They have a very solid quarterback, so does Notre Dame, but Notre Dame cannot compete in this environment.”
CBS Sports’ Barrett Sallee sees a similar outcome.
The Bulldogs will shut down a Fighting Irish rushing attack that really only features quarterback Ian Book and running back Tony Jones, and force Book to win through the air,” Sallee said. “He won’t be able to do that with the limited possessions he will have thanks to a punishing Georgia offense that will grind the Irish down and drain the clock. This one will get sideways late
ESPN’s Heather Dinich gave an outlook on how this game might affect Georgia’s push to be in the College Football Playoff. And per her, a possible loss might not be as disastrous as some might think.
“Georgia has more wiggle room — and also a more difficult remaining schedule. Some selection committee members considered the two-loss Bulldogs last year as SEC runner-up,” Dinich wrote. “Even if Georgia loses this game, its playoff hopes remain intact because it can still win the SEC.”
However, ESPN’s Marcus Spears thought that there was actually more pressure on Georgia, given that it is expected to push for the College Football Playoff.
One of the other big talking points from this game is Notre Dame’s less than stellar record against elite teams. The Fighting Irish have not beaten a top-5 team since 2005.
That is why the likes of Spears and Yahoo’s Pat Forde have circled this game as a potential statement opportunity for Notre Dame as well.
“After losing 30-3 to Clemson last year in the playoff semifinals, Brian Kelly insisted his program was much farther along than it was while being trucked by Alabama in the 2012 BCS Championship Game,” Forde wrote. “Saturday would be a good time to back up that statement with some proof.”
The majority of college football writers have Georgia looking on the outside of the playoff picture at the moment but a win over Notre Dame should change that, as a win over the Fighting Irish would give Georgia a top-10 win. Only two of ESPN’s 12 writers polled had Georgia in the College Football Playoff come the end of the season.
Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings actually have Georgia as the No. 2 team in the country ahead of Clemson. While the competition hasn’t been great so far, Georgia’s defense has not yet given up a redzone touchdown this season.
When these two teams met in 2017, the Bulldogs came away with a 20-19 victory. But that was Jake Fromm’s first career start, and the Georgia quarterback has improved drastically since then. Last week Fromm completed 17 of his 22 passes while also throwing for 3 touchdowns. Fromm hasn’t thrown an interception yet this season.
ESPN’s College GameDay will be in Athens this Saturday to kick off festivities on Saturday morning. The last time GameDay was in Athens was in 2013, when Georgia and LSU met. Georgia and Notre Dame are scheduled for an 8:10 p.m. ET kickoff on CBS.
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