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Why Georgia-Notre Dame is the most anticipated home game of the decade

Connor Riley

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Georgia-Notre Dame game will be the biggest home game of the decade

To throw a truly great party, you need a number of pieces to come together. You need the right company. An iconic venue helps as well, as does a great food and drink setup. A date and time that works for a large group of people will play a role in how spectacular the event ends up being. A Georgia fan wouldn’t be thrilled about at attending a wedding on the same day as Georgia-Florida.

We mention all this because a start time for the highly anticipated Georgia-Notre Dame contest has been announced. And you’re going to want to go ahead and RSVP for this one.

To the delight of most Georgia football fans, the Sept. 21 contest against Notre Dame was officially announced as an 8 p.m. ET kickoff.  Fans will get to light up Sanford Stadium and see the Bulldogs play in what will be one of the biggest games of the early portion of the 2019 season.

Both teams figure to be ranked in the top-10 when the preseason rankings come out, and both should be unbeaten when the two teams meet in the fourth week of the season. The game is already so hyped that for the first time since 2010, CBS will not air the Alabama-LSU game in primetime. The network gets one primetime broadcast a season and in years past, the matchup has been slotted for the position.

For this season, the Georgia-Notre Dame game looks like a more interesting contest for a variety of reasons. For starters, Alabama has beaten LSU every time the two teams have met since the 2012 BCS National Championship game. Watching the same movie every time does get stale at some point, even if it’s Pulp Fiction.

When Georgia and Notre Dame met in 2017, the two sides played a back and forth contest with the Bulldogs winning 20-19. The game was Jake Fromm’s first career start and it proved to be a major launching point for the Georgia program under Kirby Smart. The Bulldogs made the College Football Playoff that season. Notre Dame did so last season, at the expense of the Bulldogs.

And when the two teams meet this season, it’ll offer Georgia a chance to make a statement that it should be seen as a three-team title race, with the Bulldogs joining Clemson and Alabama. It’ll also give Georgia players an opportunity to back-up some of the things they said when Notre Dame was getting bashed by Clemson. The Fighting Irish players likely won’t forget those tweets or the 2017 defeat either.

This will be the first time that Notre Dame visits Georgia. It will also be the first time in a while that Georgia has played an opponent of this caliber and prestige in the confines of Sanford Stadium.

Dating back to 2010, only once has Georgia hosted a matchup between top-10 teams. That came back during the 2013 season when the No. 9 ranked Bulldogs took on the No. 6 LSU Tigers. Georgia came away with a 44-41 win that day.

The contest against LSU was the last time ESPN’s College GameDay was in Athens. But Georgia had already entered that meeting with a loss — a 38-35 defeat to Clemson — and the game kicked off at 3:30 p.m. ET. In retrospect, that game loses some of its luster due to Georgia finishing the season with an 8-5 record.

There are a handful of other big regular-season matchups you could mention, like the 2013 home game against South Carolina or the 2015 contest against Alabama. Georgia split those two games, with the latter being a rain-soaked 38-10 shellacking.

Georgia has only played one opponent who was ranked in the top-10 at home in the Kirby Smart era. That came back in the 2016 season when Georgia hosted then No. 8 Auburn. The unranked Bulldogs were able to pull off the upset that day, as they came up with a 13-7 victory.

When Georgia welcomes Notre Dame though, it won’t be as an underdog. The early betting lines indicate Georgia is expected to be around a 10-point favorite over Notre Dame. That large of a number should be notable, especially when many of the big home games in Athens haven’t lived up to the hype or been the indicator of a strong season.

Related: Why Georgia-Notre Dame could be a blowout 

The last Alabama home game served as the beginning of the end for the Mark Richt era. And Georgia never could match those highs from the South Carolina and LSU games in 2013. Sometimes teams ranked in the top-10 end up being frauds. When Auburn visited Georgia as the No. 9 ranked team in the 2014 season, the Tigers left with a 34-7 loss.

Long before a kickoff time was announced, this game was circled on just about every Georgia fan’s calendar. They weren’t the only ones, as ESPN has already called this game the best non-conference game of the 2019 season. And a number of elite recruits — like 5-star athlete Darnell Washington — have already made plans to be in Athens for promises to be a spectacular weekend.

With a primetime start, one of college football’s most iconic teams in attendance and the attention of the college football world, Georgia will get a chance to show that it can throw one heck of a party.

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