Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Deafening Silence

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Two years ago, Georgia was ahead of schedule when it won the SEC and suffered an overtime loss in the national title game; a storyline that was easy to follow and received a lot of national publicity for obvious reasons.

Last year, the storyline revolved around whether or not they could repeat their previous years success; specifically, could they get over the Alabama hurdle?

This year, even though they’ve been firmly planted in the #3 ranking for the first third of the season and are one of the most complete teams in the country, it almost seems as if Georgia is under the radar.

It’s a no brainer that Alabama and Clemson are going to be the major headlines throughout the season, there are too many juicy storylines between the two programs for them not to be.

Plus, Georgia hasn’t achieved nearly the same amount of success as those two have in recent years, so it just makes sense that they wouldn’t receive the same type of coverage.

It’s the publicity for many of the other current AP Top 10 teams below Georgia that I’m talking about.

LSU and Oklahoma are popular stories because the Tigers finally have an offense that doesn’t resemble something from the 1930’s and Jalen Hurts is putting up better numbers than the Sooners previous two quarterbacks, who just happen to be Heisman Trophy winners.

Ohio State gets the love because, well, they’re Ohio State, and as much as people like to complain about it, names sell.

If you’re questioning why Georgia has been out of the spotlight a little more than you would expect, just look at the Notre Dame game; another Top 10 team so popular you’d think Jesus was actually scoring touchdowns for them.

After Georgia’s 23-17 win over their fellow Top 10 opponent, you may have expected a number of stories praising the Dawgs and talking about how this could positively affect the remainder of their season.

There were a few of them, but the main takeaway for most people was that Notre Dame has a legitimate playoff worthy team this year, based on their play in Athens. I know that line of thinking upset more than a few Georgia fans who thought it was a bit disrespectful to focus on the Fighting Irish, but I’d argue it was the exact opposite.

In a matter of two years Georgia has evolved from being the team looking for validation to being the team opponents use to validate themselves.

If I’m a Georgia fan, that’s exactly how I want it- enter the game as the favorite and have the press drool over the opponent afterwards solely because they’re merely able to hang with us. It really is kind of the ultimate sign of respect.

When you look at the remainder of Georgia’s schedule, I wouldn’t expect things to change either, until they play Auburn on November 16.

As fans, when our team is playing well, we feel as though they should be the topic of conversation everywhere. Why else do we listen to five minutes of a four hours radio show and complain about our team not being mentioned?

The truth is, it doesn’t matter if they don’t get recognition during the season, receiving it at the end of the season is what counts; it’s something all the elite teams learn over time. So, congratulations Georgia fans, that silence you’re hearing means you’re almost there.

 

SEC Week 3 Menu

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The SEC kicks into full throttle this weekend with a series a good SEC matchups and then you have the monster Georgia/Notre Dame matchup to finish off a great football Saturday in the nation’s top college football conference.

Here are the games and my predictions:

Southern Miss @ (2) Alabama: In case you didn’t know Nick Saban does not like noon kickoffs.

Alabama will score early and often and Tua should have a field day on Southern Miss with Alabama’s NFL wide receiver unit. The entire Alabama WR unit could start this Sunday for the Miami Dolphins. Bama rolls 52-13.

(4) LSU @ Vanderbilt: The Tigers are feeling pretty good about themselves. Vanderbilt may make them uncomfortable for a quarter or so then LSU pulls away for a 38-17 win.

I want to see that Tiger defense improve in SEC play.

Tennessee @ (9) Florida: The Swamp has never been too kind to the Vols. Franks is done for the season and Kyle Trask is now the man in Gainesville.

Dan Mullen is paid to win football games so remember Gator Nation that there was a reason that Trask was the back-up QB.

The Gators seem to be already counting this one in the win column. My gut tells me Tennessee will play inspired football, but it also may be the burrito I ate for lunch. Florida wins 23-14.

(23) California @ Ole Miss: The Rebs should be ready for this one.

Could Cal wilt in the 90-degree heat in Oxford on Saturday? Ole Miss could make a statement and I think they will. Ole Miss 27-24.

That Ealy kid at RB is going to be a star in this league.

(8) Auburn @ (17) Texas A&M: Is Bo Nix ready for 100,000 Aggies in College Station.

The Aggies already played Clemson at Clemson and should be locked and loaded for this one.

I’m not sure Auburn can run the football consistently against a quality defense. Can Kellen Mond make plays on a good Auburn defense? I think A&M makes enough plays to beat Auburn 28-20.

Kentucky @ Mississippi State: The Cats gave away the game to Florida at home last week by playing not to lose.

Mississippi State lost at home to Kansas State and did not look good in the process. I’m not very high on MSU and I’m thinking Kentucky goes on the road and gets the win in a 20-17 type game. Both offenses may struggle in this game.

South Carolina @ Missouri: South Carolina gave up too many big plays against Alabama, and Missouri’s offense is nothing close to what Carolina witnessed last week.

Kelly Bryant is a South Carolina native playing against the Gamecocks. South Carolina needs this one more than Missouri. Give me Carolina 31-30.

San Jose State @ Arkansas: This one is going to be like two mules fighting over a turnip. These are the types of games Arkansas will lose, but maybe they are going to turn the corner with Nick Starkel at QB. Give me the Hogs 38-33.

(7) Notre Dame @ (3) Georgia: This could be the most anticipated home game in the history of UGA football.

The Irish come to Athens undefeated with Ian Book at QB. The Irish have questions stopping the run and UGA has four running backs who can start anywhere and a mammoth offensive line.

This could be the Zamir White and George Pickens coming out party. I think UGA is more talented and I’ll take Jake Fromm over Ian Book. UGA beats ND 31-21 and gets a bye week before Tennessee.

Survival Saturday

By: Kenneth Harrison Jr.

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We have several heavyweight matchups taking place in Week 11 of the college football season.

Games like #12 Washington vs. #21 Stanford and #11 Oklahoma State vs. #15 Iowa State are on the backburner. Let’s look at some of the marquee matchups.

#1 Georgia at #14 Auburn: So, the Dawgs are 9-0 for the first time since Herschel Walker was on campus (1982). They have an embarrassment of riches at running back with Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and D’andre Swift.

True freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has that ‘it’ factor and he made Georgia fans forget all about Jacob Eason.

The defense has been stellar ranking fourth in the nation in total defense, only giving up 254 yards per game.

Auburn looks like they finally found their stride on offense. The last time the Tigers were really explosive was 2013.

Baylor transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham received a lot of hype to before the season began. He struggled initially but he looks more comfortable running Gus Malzahn’s offense. He’s also able to rely on the power running of Kerryon Johnson. Auburn is also exceptional on defense, ranking 14th nationally in total D.

Fromm went on the road and played well in Knoxville in front of over 100,000 fans but the Vols are terrible. I think playing a good team in front of 87,451 screaming fans might cause him to make freshman mistakes. I give the edge to War Eagle.

#3 Notre Dame at #10 Miami: It’s crazy to think undefeated Miami (8-0) is only ranked tenth. They have had some luck on their side against Florida State and Georgia Tech. They are coming off of a 28-10 win against #13 Virginia Tech so their confidence is high.

The Fighting Irish are thirteenth in total offense. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush is a good runner and he’s improved his passing game.

RB Josh Adams has rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and averages 8.7 yards per carry. I think this will be a close game but Notre Dame should win.

#5 Oklahoma vs. #8 TCU: Both teams have one loss. The only chance the Big 12 has to make the college football playoff is for one of these teams to win out. The Sooners are led by Heisman frontrunner, quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The offense is clicking, coming off of a 62-52 win over in-state rival Oklahoma State. That’s also alarming that the defense gave up so many points. They’ve looked bad since the Ohio State game.

Both teams lost to the Iowa State and you know the Cyclones aren’t a great team. That tells me they both lack focus.

I think the Horned Frogs are a more complete team. TCU is sixth in total D and Oklahoma is 87th. That’s going to cost them against a good team like TCU.

#2 Alabama at #16 Mississippi State: The Bulldogs looked like contenders at the beginning of the season. They had a blowout win against LSU and we didn’t know the Tigers were overrated at the time.

Then Georgia and Auburn blew them out in consecutive weeks. Miss State is on a four game winning streak.

The Crimson Tide get to play with a chip on their shoulder after being demoted to number two.

They rank second in defense and 17th in total offense. They’re the most complete team in the nation. Mississippi State has shown that they can’t compete with elite SEC teams so this will be another bad loss.

Who’s In….Over Georgia?

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

At this point in the season it is almost a foregone conclusion that Alabama and Georgia will meet up not only for the SEC Championship title game, but will enter that game as the first and second ranked teams in college football.

If that scenario were to play out obviously the winner would make it to the playoffs. The more interesting topic to me is would a 1-loss SEC runner-up make it too?

There are probably about 20 different hypothetical outcomes, but for this purpose I’ll go ahead and put Oklahoma in the playoffs (wins out including Big XII championship) and Alabama. (No disrespect to Georgia who could easily win the SEC, but it’s easier to go over scenarios for one SEC team as opposed to two, and as of today I personally think Alabama is the better team).

So, with two teams already in the playoff picture, who are some of the other teams Georgia would be contending with.

Wisconsin– It would be hard on paper to leave out an undefeated Big Ten champion, if that’s what ends up happening. However, I don’t think the Badgers are very good and their best win will be against,ultimately, a 3 loss Ohio State team.

Regardless of what the committee does, you can’t convince me they are better than Georgia.

Clemson– If the Tigers were to win out and take the ACC crown, they’re in no matter what. Defending champs, conference champs, impressive resumé, only 1 loss; there’s no way the committee will keep them out.

Another loss though, and I don’t see how they make it.

Miami- I haven’t thought all that much of the Hurricanes throughout the season, but if they were to win out that would include victories over Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, and Clemson.

Hard to put Georgia in over Miami if that were take place. (On a side note, if Miami made it in over Georgia what’s the over/under on the amount time elapsed before a video of Mark Richt urinating in a stuffed Uga goes viral?)

Notre Dame- The Fighting Irish are really the wild card here.

If they were to win out, it would include a victory over Miami, essentially knocking out the Hurricanes.

It would also leave them tied with Georgia, leading to the question, “What do you value more, head to head or overall strength of schedule?”

If you’re a Bulldog fan, you’re going to say head to head, as you should. If you’re a Notre Dame fan, it’s overall strength of schedule. And while it’s not completely an apples to apples comparison, it is worth mentioning that last year, when it came down to OSU and PSU, the commute went in favor of Ohio State’s overall schedule instead of Penn State’s victory over the Buckeyes.

As I mentioned above there are plenty of other scenarios that could play out over the next few makes, making what I just wrote entirely obsolete.

Regardless, here’s the point I’m trying to make: In the last few years, you could argue that a one loss, SEC runner up was deserving of making the playoffs because of the conference’s overall strength.

Ironically, the one year it may come to fruition, the one year where the two best teams in college football could possibly reside within the SEC, is the one year that the conference’s lack of overall strength may be what keeps it from happening.