By Tommy Gartrell
If you asked fans, the Georgia Bulldogs haven’t played a truly meaningful football game since last year’s SEC Championship game and based on the utterly uninspired performance against Texas on New Years Day, the players must agree. At long last though, the college football schedule gives us the first top 10 pairing of 2019.
The third ranked Bulldogs (3-0) host seventh ranked and often overrated Notre Dame (2-0) on Saturday night at 8 p.m. in CBS’s prime time game of the week. It is billed as a “play-off defining” game. I prefer to call it the only credible obstacle in Georgia’s schedule until the Auburn game on November 16, and I use the word “credible” very loosely here.
The odds-makers obviously think more of the Irish’s chances of upsetting the Dawgs than I do, apparently. The line on Monday has Georgia favored by 12 to 13.5 points which is laughable to me if you truly digest all of the available data about each squad.
Literally, the Bulldogs should run all over ND. The Irish rank 120th nationally in run defense after lopsided wins over Louisville and New Mexico. An unremarkable and unknown trio of Cardinal running backs gained 258 yard against the Notre Dame defense, while a totally inferior collection of a dozen Lobos totaled 240 against them.
Georgia’s stable of four and five star runners and gigantic offensive line absolutely outclasses anything the Irish defenders have or will see during this season. Notre Dame’s front five pales in size and experience to the offense front of the Bulldogs and I doubt that the line backers or secondary can match speed with any opposing skill position players.
Kirby Smart’s offensive game plan should be very simple - run, run, run! Once the Irish commit more defenders into run support, quarterback Jake Fromm should exploit their secondary at will. Even if that formula enjoys little success early in the game, few teams let alone Notre Dame can survive such a pounding for four quarters.
From the defensive side, speed is key. The Irish quarterback Ian Book is a 62% passer so far but he has yet to encounter any substantial pass rush or a secondary as quick or with the depth of Georgia’s squad.
Once again, the Irish shall be exposed as an overrated “wannabe” on a national stage. Hopefully, after this scandalously one-sided affair, the media, the Associated Press, the Coaches Poll and all other prognosticators can finally realize that the glory days of Notre Dame football died decades ago and a Catholic school with high academic standards in the miserably cold upper Midwest, cannot recruit with the powerhouse programs in the sunny South.
In short, Georgia will rout Notre Dame. The Sporting News picked UGA 35-24. Sports 24/7 says UGA 34-17, and USA Today calls it a UGA win 31-21.
My crystal ball says UGA 42 - ND 6.