Athens, GA (CBS 2)- College football is a largely regional sport. There aren't many games that draw in a national audience during the regular season.
However, that changes a bit when Notre Dame is involved. Since the early 1900s, when Knute Rockne began to build the Irish program into a national power, Notre Dame has remained the beloved school for many across the country. That following and fan base are drawn to the TV whenever the Irish play. Now, combine that with the similarly passionate fan base that follows the University of Georgia, and you have the makings of a sought-after matchup.
That matchup will be on CBS this Saturday, September 21st, when the #7-ranked Fighting Irish take on the #3-ranked Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium. The play-by-play man for the broadcast, Brad Nessler, is an Athens native, and he said on a conference call with the media that this is one of the most anticipated matchups of his time in the area.
"I have lived here for four decades, and I can't remember too many times when an on-campus, home game has had this much buzz, especially a night game at that," said Nessler. "This is the most anticipated night game I can remember Georgia having in a long time. We're looking forward to it, and I think the fact that we lead off our afternoon game with Auburn and Texas A&M, we're going to have four top-15 teams basically playing on CBS all afternoon. Does it mean a lot to us? It does. We have had this marked on the calendar since we saw it."
As Nessler mentioned, the game is part of a doubleheader on the network, with the #8 Auburn Tigers heading to College Station, Texas to face the #17 Texas A&M Aggies in the normal 2:30 p.m. Central Time slot for the SEC on CBS. The Notre Dame vs. Georgia matchup gets the prime-time treatment with a 7 p.m. Central Time.
In terms of the actual matchup itself, it's a bit difficult to say much about either team just yet, as neither schedule has provided much in the way of tests. The Bulldogs have faced Vanderbilt, Murray State and Arkansas State while Notre Dame has played only two games against Louisville and New Mexico. Still, despite the light early schedule for Georgia, Nessler's partner, Gary Danielson, has been impressed by the efficiency with which Kirby Smart's team has taken apart it's opponents.
"In the X's and O's of the game, it would be a tough scene for any northern team to come in and play Georgia. I have watched Georgia their first two games, and they have been a machine. They have probably been the most impressive team on tape that I have seen. They just aren't making any mistakes," said Danielson. "I have never seen a quarterback, probably since Drew Brees, that is more prepared before the snap than Jake Fromm."
That's high praise for the Bulldogs, but Danielson does believe that the Irish have something going for them when it comes to playing in games like this.
"If there is one team that is used to playing in an atmosphere like this, it is probably Notre Dame," said Danielson. "I don't think the atmosphere will make their legs wobbly."
You can watch Notre Dame take on Georgia this Saturday, September 21st at 7:00 p.m. Central Time on CBS.
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