I’m not typically the self-referential type, but here is what I wrote about Georgia following its 20–19 victory over Notre Dame back in 2017: “One of the marks of a good team is the ability to overcome its own flaws. Georgia did that against Notre Dame. The next step is to win without the flaws instead of in spite of them.”
We all know what happened the rest of that season. The Dawgs went on a tear unlike we’ve ever seen before, winning without flaws instead of in spite of them and losing only once, to Auburn, in the regular season before getting revenge in the SEC Championship Game. Then there was that amazing overtime Rose Bowl win over Oklahoma before the eventual disappointment of a loss to Alabama in the National Championship Game, when Georgia’s biggest flaw that season—the secondary—came back to bite it on the last play of the game. (I won’t go into any more detail about that, for all our sake.)
Two years later, and it’s time for Notre Dame’s return trip to Athens. It’s the hottest ticket in college football so far this season, and maybe the hottest ticket in all of sports right now. Come Saturday, Athens will be the center of the college football world, and every college football fan in the country will be looking to see how good this Georgia team really is.
If I can contradict that little thing about not liking to be self-referential again, in the Flag Football season preview, I made a big to-do about the fact that this Georgia team has no excuses, because it has so few, if any, clear flaws. After three easy games to open the season, it’s time to put that theory to the test against the top 10-ranked Fighting Irish and see just how far we’ve come in the last two seasons. Can Georgia achieve a flawless victory and show the country just how good these Dawgs can be?
As far as the regular season goes, Georgia is unlikely to play a bigger game this year. It’s a nationally televised night game that will feature the biggest crowd in UGA history—a rowdy-as-hell bunch that’ll have been tailgating for hours and waiting for years for this game to come to Athens. With so many eyes on Athens, I want to see a performance that leaves no viewer with any reason to believe the Dawgs aren’t on the same level as Clemson, Alabama or any other national title contender. I want to see domination.
I want to see Kirby Smart and new offensive coordinator James Coley exploit Notre Dame’s weak interior line and run defense with our star-studded stable of tailbacks. We’ve got the best offensive line and the best group of running backs in the country. Whether it’s D’Andre Swift, Brian Herrien, Zamir White or James Cook taking the bulk of the carries, I want to see the Notre Dame defense begging, “Please, no more.”
I want to see Jake Fromm take his shots and show he’s not just a “game manager,” but one of the very best in the country under center. Yeah, he lost a lot of options at receiver from last year. But George Pickens has the potential to be the most exciting UGA receiver since A.J. Green. Demetris Robertson has speed to burn on the edges. Grad transfer tight end Eli Wolf—who probably dances a jig every night to celebrate the fact that he no longer plays for Tennessee—has slotted in beautifully and is a great option over the middle. With the resources Notre Dame will have to commit to stop the run, there should be plenty of opportunities for Fromm to sling it around the field.
I want to see the defense take it to the next level, in all facets of their game. The front seven looks much more capable of creating havoc this year—a focus of the coaches in the offseason—but the secondary still has to prove it can step up. There are more blue-chip talents in that unit than you can shake a stick at. And with 80,000-plus red-and-black-clad lunatics hootin’ and hollerin’ during Ian Book’s snap count, hopefully the defense can capitalize on some mistakes and miscommunication from the Notre Dame offense.
More than anything, I want the rest of the college football world to fear the Georgia Bulldogs.
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