Okay, we’re here. Finally.
I’m heading up to Athens within the next hour (watch for a follow up post this morning as to our whereabouts, so you can hopefully join us for some pregame festivities), so I’ll leave you with some final thoughts for tonight’s game against Notre Dame.
First off, whatever else I’ve posted about the game this week, I’m not taking the Irish lightly. They’re a good, well-coached (ND currently leads the nation in turnover margin) bunch that’s won a lot of games the past two seasons. They’ve got a number of NFL-caliber players on the roster and they won’t be intimidated walking in the joint.
It’s just that Notre Dame appears to be vulnerable in the worst possible place for a team taking on Georgia. And in the end, I keep coming back to the same conclusion because of that.
Matt Hinton also suggests that Georgia has an advantage in terms of overall athleticism and depth.
Without knowing anything else about these lineups, specifically, it’s broadly understood by everyone that the Irish’s biggest weaknesses in this kind of game — overall team speed and depth — are Georgia’s biggest strengths. Even the as-yet-unproven gray areas of the Bulldogs’ depth chart (wide receiver, linebacker, cornerback) are all blessed with former 5-star recruits vying to make their move. Notre Dame doesn’t have a 5-star recruit on its roster.
It’s possible that the talent gap is exaggerated, especially along the lines of scrimmage, and the Irish will have more success both establishing and stopping the run than they did in the 2017 meeting, when they were outrushed 185 yards to 55 (including negative yardage on sacks). Fromm’s rapport with this group of wideouts, gifted as they are, is still mostly hypothetical. But then, so is the notion that ND has the manpower to hold athletes like Swift, George Pickens, and Jermaine Johnson in check.
Contrary to some I’ve seen, I don’t expect a blowout. ND has too much talent and is too disciplined for that. What I do expect to see is something akin to last year’s Florida game: the Irish do a good job of scheming to take full advantage of Ian Book’s skill set and are in the game into the second half, only to see the Dawgs steadily pull away as the ground game ultimately takes control.
The line is 14 1/2. Look for a final score in the neighborhood of, say, 37-20. And stay classy, Dawg fans. It ought to be a fun day and night. (Perfect weather, to boot.)
Follow along, as long as it takes, in the comments, peeps.