It is a glorious matchup of top-10 ranked teams when No. 7 Notre Dame goes between the hedges at Sanford Stadium to take on third-ranked Georgia. The big question for bettors is why are the Bulldogs favored by 14 points? Is that just some SEC bias or what? It’s actually a chance for bettors to cash in.
Georgia is a preseason favorite to make this year’s College Football Playoff. Remember, Notre Dame qualified last year and one of their victories was a 20-19 thriller over the Bulldogs. Georgia has proved it is worthy of the No. 3 ranking with impressive wins over Vanderbilt and Murray State.
The Bulldogs are averaging 49.3 points per game thanks to a strong running game that averages over 286 yards per game. That is going to be the difference on Saturday night. D’Andre Swift is one of four capable Georgia backs and leads the team with 290 rushing yards.
Georgia also has a three-year starter at quarterback in Jake Fromm who is 42-of-56 – that’s 75 percent – for 601 yards and five touchdowns. Head coach Kirby Smart can rely on his quarterback to make plays in the passing game when necessary.
Watch the Georgia Pump Up Video
The Bulldogs are also very good on defense. The unit is giving up just 7.5 points per game. Sure, they haven’t really played anyone, but Smart’s teams have always been good on defense. They will have to contend with Irish QB Ian Book. The senior threw for five touchdowns in Notre Dame’s win over New Mexico last week.
Here’s what it comes down to.
Georgia runs the ball extremely well.
The Fighting Irish do not defend the run very well.
Notre Dame has given up 249 yards rushing to Louisville and 212 to New Mexico. The number would have been higher against the Lobos if not for a 28-yard-loss on one play. Neither Louisville nor New Mexico is anywhere near as good as Georgia on the ground.
So, here it is. In their last seven games as a double-digit favorite, Georgia is 5-2 ATS. The Bulldogs won all seven games and held five of those opponents under 20 points. There is a reason why the spread is pegged at 14.5. Georgia is that good.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.