5 Biggest Games on Georgia’s 2019 Schedule
Before we start, let me emphasize the word “Biggest” in the title. These aren’t the 5 most “Crucial” games, if they were I would just list all of Georgia’s SEC East games.
These are the games I believe will have the best combinations of: build-up, fan excitement, player matchups, national intrigue, and TV time slots.
#5 – @ Vanderbilt – 8/31/19
No Austin Peay to start this season. The Bulldogs will dive into SEC East play right off the bat.
This one will be huge for a couple of reasons.
1: You have an entire offseason of hype leading up to kickoff. After countless days of offseason workouts and innumerable preseason articles consumed by fans, Georgia players and supporters will be chomping at the bit to get the bad taste of the Sugar Bowl out of their mouths.
For Vanderbilt, this will be their best chance to get a top 10 win all year. Coaches don’t like to start game planning for an opponent with their players this far out from game day, but I guarantee you that the team from Athens is mentioned after every rep in the weight room.
Running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn is one of the best backs in the SEC, and lead the league’s backs in yards per carry with a 7.9 mark.
2: Derek Mason (as unreasonable as it is) is coaching for his job this year. Vanderbilt isn’t a job that’s judged solely off of wins & losses, but rather the trajectory of the program. The Commodores have been up and down the past couple of years, including a disappointing finish to the 2018 season. Mason is an excellent football coach and will utilize an entire offseason of prep to try and neutralize the Fromm/Swift combo.
New Georgia OC James Coley will face a tough test week 1.
As far as TV, I can see a noon kick on ESPN. Alabama – Duke, Auburn – Oregon, and Florida – Miami will all receive the primetime slots.
#4 – Missouri – 11/9/19
I was very tempted to put Week 13’s game against Texas A&M here, but because of a brutal schedule the Aggies will probably have 2 losses at this point.
Instead, we’ll go with Missouri who will take advantage of a weak schedule in 2019. As crazy as it sounds, if Grad-Transfer QB Kelly Bryant meshes with Derek Dooley, the Tigers could come into Athens undefeated, playing for the SEC East lead.
This game falls on the same Saturday as LSU-Alabame. I’m thinking; 3:30 CBS with the Blackburn-Neuheisel-Taylor team, as Nessler and Danielson will be in Tuscaloosa for an 8pm kick.
#3 – @ Georgia Tech 11/30/19
Gone is Paul Johnson, and with him goes the hated Flexbone – Option attack. In comes Geoff Collins out of Temple.
Tech’s new coach has taken to his new job with a feverish energy that’s seen him adopt Waffle House into his recruiting efforts.
Georgia fans can dismiss, with an air of arrogance, all the social media and high energy videos that Georgia Tech is putting out as “cute” or “cheesy”, as the Dawgs have dominated the recent series. But a win by the Jackets, or even a close loss, could breathe air into Collins’ recruiting efforts in the State.
The game has no bearing on either team’s conference aspirations, but will be massive in the recruiting game.
First impressions last forever, and Smart is hoping make a lasting one in his first meeting with Collins.
As far as TV, depending on how Tech’s season goes, noon or 3:30 seems realistic, but any game in Bobby Dodd is a pleasure to watch.
#2 – Notre Dame 9/21/19
Let’s start with what’s important. This will almost undoubtedly be the site for “College Gameday”.
Cases can be made for Michigan – Wisconsin or Oklahoma State – Texas, but unless either Notre Dame or Georgia drop a game in the first 3 weeks, expect to see Coach Corso in Athens.
This is the second game of a home-and-home between the teams, with Georgia memorably winning 20-19 at Notre Dame in Jake Fromm’s first career start back in 2017.
Another layer was added to this already interesting game all the way back in December when members of Georgia’s team mocked Notre Dame as unworthy of their playoff spot during the Irish’s blowout loss to eventual champion Clemson.
Georgia wasn’t able to back up their talk as they were crushed by Texas in the Sugar Bowl.
That creates an interesting dynamic. If those Georgia players hadn’t hit the “tweet” button (it is easier said than done), they could enter this one with a chip on their shoulder. Instead, the chip lies squarely on Notre Dame’s shoulder, and they will come to Athens with something to prove.
TV = Primetime ABC
#1 – Florida – 11/2/19 (Jacksonville)
I know. I took the easy way out. But c’mon! This one will be massive!
If recent college football history is any indication, program’s second seasons under new head coaches have been wildly successful ones. Dan Mullen is an awesome coach, and that should negate some of Florida’s personnel losses.
Feleipe Franks was excellent in Florida’s Peach Bowl win over Michigan, and R. Freshman QB Emory Jones showed flashes in his limited playing time last year.
The Gator’s do have a tough schedule prior to heading to Jacksonville, but they should come into this one with no more than 2 losses.
Jake Fromm will be looking to become the first starting Georgia quarterback in the history of time to start his career 3-0 against Florida (which should allow him to be inducted into the game’s Hall of Fame immediately following the game).
This game, always massive in the Southeast, is beginning to recapture the National luster that used to surround it.
It’s a long shot, especially since the game is locked up by CBS, but “Gameday” could make the trip to Jacksonville two years in a row.
Florida State – Miami? Virginia Tech – Notre Dame? C’mon back down I-95 Herbie. We’ll save some shrimp for you.