… but should we talk about the Notre Dame game a little now? Here’s what Brett McMurphy has to say about it.
No. 1 – Notre Dame at Georgia, Sept. 21
Projected point spread: Georgia -10.5
The last time Notre Dame faced a team from the South, it wasn’t pretty (Clemson 30, Notre Dame 3 in last year’s Cotton Bowl). This game, pitting a pair of top 10 teams, will have huge College Football Playoff implications. While a loss won’t eliminate the loser from playoff contention, they would likely have to run the table the rest of the way since we’ve never had a two-loss team in the five-year history of the playoff.
Last year, Notre Dame’s defense surrendered its fewest yards since the 2012 team that reached the BCS title game. Six starters return off that unit, which will be tested by quarterback Jake Fromm and running back D’Andre Swift. The Bulldogs return 15 starters, 11 of which were freshmen or sophomores last season.
Notre Dame’s offense made huge strides when Ian Book replaced Brandon Wimbush as starting quarterback four weeks into last season. The Irish averaged 37 points a contest over their final nine games until Clemson held Notre Dame to three points.
This is a rematch of the 2017 contest in South Bend, won by Georgia 20-19 (in Fromm’s second career start, while Wimbush attempted a career-high 40 passes) on its way to reaching the College Football Playoff championship game. This will be Georgia’s biggest home non-conference contest since hosting Clemson between the hedges to open the 2014 season.
The first thing that catches your eye is that double-digit point spread over a team that just played in the CFP. The second thing is the Clemson comparison. Yeah, I know it’s a different season and all that, but that’s an easy narrative to hatch and we all know how the national media loves itself an easy Georgia narrative.
This game will get plenty of attention as it gets closer. The 2017 road win jump started the Dawgs’ run towards their national title game appearance. Will a 2019 win do the same?