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The 5 most important games on Georgia football’s 2019 schedule

The 5 most important games on Georgia football’s 2019 schedule

The 5 most important games on Georgia football’s 2019 schedule

The 5 most important games on Georgia football’s 2019 schedule

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The 5 most important games on Georgia's 2019 football schedule

Georgia football figures to play one of the tougher 2019 schedules in all of college football. To go along with the usual rigors of an SEC schedule the Bulldogs also have a huge home against a Notre Dame team that took part in last season's College Football Playoff.

Every game is important for Georgia this season, but some are more so than others. Below we've ranked the top-5 games on Georgia's schedule in terms of importance to both the 2019 season and what it could possibly mean for future seasons. We should also note that these are only games currently on Georgia's schedule, so a hypothetical SEC championship game is not on here. Because as talented as Georgia's 2019 team is expected to be, it's no guarantee the Bulldogs make it back to Atlanta.

Related: Game times, TV Networks announced for Georgia's first three games

5. Texas A&M, Nov. 23, Athens, Ga.

This game comes following a brutal three-game stretch that sees Georgia play Florida, Missouri and Auburn. It's the Bulldogs final SEC game of the 2019 campaign, and the SEC East title could still be on the line going into this game.

Texas A&M is one of the more fascinating teams in college football this year. They have a lot of intriguing talent led by quarterback Kellen Mond but the Aggies also play a brutal schedule as they play the Bulldogs, Alabama and Clemson this season. This game could be used to cross compare the Bulldogs to the Crimson Tide and the Tigers.

This game will also be the final home game of the 2019 season. That means it will be senior day for the likes of JR Reed and Charlie Woerner. But this could also be the final game in Sanford Stadium for some talented juniors like D'Andre Swift, Andrew Thomas and even possibly Jake Fromm. That alone should make this an extra special Saturday in Athens.

Related: ESPN, NFL draft expert expect Jake Fromm to be one of the top players in 2020 NFL Draft

4. At Tennessee, Oct. 5, Knoxville, Tenn.

Kirby Smart really got the ball rolling in his second season with a road win over Notre Dame. That was the first tangible sign he was building something special with Georgia. It ultimately led to a College Football Playoff appearance and fast-tracked Georgia to joining college football's elite.

I'm not saying a Tennessee win over Georgia would be a sign of things to come for the Volunteers, but it would definitely offer some serious validation to what Jeremy Pruitt is building in Knoxville. Most knowledgable Georgia fans would probably argue that Tennessee is the biggest long-term threat to Georgia, and a home win over the Bulldogs would certainly indicate that.

The last time Georgia went to Knoxville, it came away with a 41-0 win in a game where Jake Fromm had fewer than 100 yards passing. It won't be quite that easy this time around, as Georgia won't be able to waltz through Tennessee now that Butch Jones isn't around.

Related: ESPN labels the game Georgia football fans need to beware of for 2019 season

3. At Auburn, Nov. 16 Auburn, Ala.

For all that Smart has done so far in Athens, he is still yet to play a competitive road game against an SEC West team. In each of his three seasons as head coach, Georgia has lost by at least 20-points when visiting an SEC West foe.

This season the Bulldogs visit Auburn. It comes during the aforementioned tough November stretch. The Tigers once again figure to have a strong defense with defensive tackle Derrick Brown returning for his senior season. And whatever questions there might be about the quarterback position, Auburn should have those answered by what will be its 10th game of the season.

This game will offer Smart an opportunity to show that he's grown as a coach. Beating Auburn on the road would be another milestone for him to cross off his list. And given Gus Malzahn's ever-constant hot seat, a loss at home to Georgia could really turn up the pressure on the Auburn coach.

2. Notre Dame, Sept. 21, Athens, Ga.

This game has been potentially earmarked as an 8 p.m. kickoff by CBS. You can imagine College GameDay will strongly consider visiting Athens for this possible top-5 matchup. ESPN has already called this game the best non-conference matchup of the 2019 season.

Regardless of whether or not you think this will be a close game for Georgia the advanced stats suggest it might not be it will absolutely be a chance for Georgia to make a statement early in the 2019 season.

Notre Dame will be plenty motivated coming into this game, especially after a what several Georgia players tweeted during last season's College Football Playoff. If the Bulldogs truly want to prove they're on the same level as Clemson and Alabama, beating Notre Dame would go a long way to justifying those comparisons.

1. Vs. Florida, Nov. 2, Jacksonville, Fla.,

This game will likely pit the top two teams in the SEC East against each other, and decide who represents the division in the SEC championship game. But that is not why this is the most important game on Georgia's 2019 schedule.

These two schools and fan bases have been lobbing shots at each other all offseason long. Whether it be Dan Mullen using the Florida spring game to troll Georgia's championship drought, or seemingly every Georgia commitment in the past month naming Florida as a finalist to only end up picking the Bulldogs, it is clear that these two teams utterly despise each other.

When the Bulldogs won this game last season, they showed off some rare video of Smart really celebrating the win. If the Bulldogs beat Florida and Mullen for a third straight season, you can imagine a similar celebration will take place in Jacksonville.

If not, it is going to be an incredibly long offseason for Georgia in 2020.

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  • PHOENIX (AP) - Kelly Oubre Jr. followed his worst game of the season with his best and it's a huge reason the Phoenix Suns kept rolling through their early season schedule. Oubre scored a season-high 30 points, Devin Booker added 27 and the Suns beat the Atlanta Hawks 128-112 on Thursday night. Phoenix (7-4) took a 104-90 lead into the final quarter after Oubre nailed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the third and kept a comfortable lead throughout the fourth. The Suns are off to their best start through 11 games since 2009, when they started 9-2. Oubre's big performance came two days after a rare off-night. He scored just one point in 19 minutes in a loss to the Lakers. 'It feels good, but at the end of the day I try not to get too high or too low,' Oubre said. 'I could have been super low and not done this today. Just trying to stay level is my main thing. Being like water.' Dario Saric added 23 points after shooting 9 of 12 from the field, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range. 'I just think Dario is a guy that I need to incorporate more,' Suns coach Monty Williams said. 'He makes the right plays, he can shoot the ball, he's efficient.' Atlanta (4-7) was led by Jabari Parker, who scored 24 points. Trae Young had 21 points and 13 assists two nights after a 42-point, 11-assist performance in a win over Denver. The banged-up Hawks were missing several key players due to injuries. 'Not a fun game,' Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. 'That's all I got. It's all we got. We've got no bodies. It's just one of those nights the whistle didn't go our way.' Parker wasn't thrilled with the officiating, either. The Hawks were called for 31 fouls, including several on the offensive end. 'I am from Chicago, Illinois,' Parker said. 'I played in the public league and we never called offensive fouls that much, but I mean, that was the pace of the game, that's just how it went down and hopefully we can get them back when we come home.' Booker scored 19 points in the first half as the Suns built a 67-61 halftime lead. Young had 17 points and six assists for the Hawks. MISSING PIECES Both the Hawks and the Suns were missing key pieces to their teams because of 25-game suspensions for violating the NBA's Anti-Drug program. Suns center Deandre Ayton played in just one game before being suspended for using a diuretic. Hawks forward John Collins tested positive for a growth hormone called Peptide-2. Ayton was the No. 1 pick one year ago and had 18 points and 11 rebounds in his only game this season. Collins was averaging 17 points and 8.8 rebounds before his suspension. BEMBRY, REDDISH EJECTED Hawks guard DeAndre' Bembry was ejected in the third quarter after getting called for two quick technical fouls. He got the first technical for taunting after blocking Ricky Rubio's shot. He earned the second a few seconds later for arguing. Booker also was called for a technical during the commotion. Rookie Cam Reddish was ejected with about four minutes left after getting two flagrant fouls on two separate plays on offensive fouls when he hit a Suns defender in the face with his elbow. LEN'S BIG GAME Atlanta center Alex Len had one of his best games of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds, including five on the offensive end. Len was booed occasionally throughout the game. He was drafted by the Suns with the fifth overall pick in 2013, but struggled during five rough seasons before signing with the Hawks. TIP-INS Hawks: Kevin Huerter (left shoulder), Evan Turner (left Achilles pain) and Vince Carter (personal reasons) didn't play on Thursday. Coach Lloyd Pierce said the Hawks are relieved that Huerter doesn't need surgery for his injury and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Suns: Rookie guard Ty Jerome still hasn't played this season because of a right ankle sprain he suffered just before the beginning of the regular season. ... Frank Kaminsky scored 19 points on Thursday and Cam Johnson added 15. UP NEXT Hawks: Continue their road trip at the Clippers on Saturday. Suns: Host the Celtics on Monday. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The Atlanta Braves have bolstered their bullpen by signing Will Smith on a three-year, $39 million contract. Smith will join his former setup man, Mark Melancon in Atlanta. All of a sudden, the Braves have one of the deepest bullpen’s in the MLB that will be highlighted by Smith, Melancon, Shane Greene, Darren O’Day and Luke Jackson. Smith was one of the hottest names on the trade market around the deadline this year, but the San Fransisco Giants refused to trade their closer. At the age of 29, Smith earned his first All-Star nomination this year with the Giants. Smith’s career stats 410.2 ip 49 saves 26 wins 3.53 era 1.247 whip 115 era+ 3.29 fip 494 k Smith was the best closer in baseball this past season, leading all National League pitchers in Win Probability Added (5.6), which was an entire point better than Hyun-Jin Ryu (4.5), who finished with the second-best WPA for NL pitchers. Smith’s 2019 stats 65.1 ip 34 saves 6 wins 0 losses 2.76 era 1.026 whip 152 era+ 3.23 fip 96 k 29.2 k-bb% 88.7 lob% 42.0 gb%
  • ATLANTA (AP) - Hawks guard Kevin Huerter is expected to miss at least two weeks with a left rotator cuff strain. Huerter also was diagnosed with a shoulder capsule strain when examined Thursday in Atlanta. Huerter left the team's West Coast trip after he was hurt in Tuesday night's 125-121 victory at Denver. The Hawks say Huerter, who is averaging 9.3 points, will have rehabilitation and treatment before being examined again in two weeks. Huerter suffered the injury when fouled by Denver's Nikola Jokic while going up for a shot. The second-year player immediately grabbed his shoulder and headed to the locker room. The Hawks were at Phoenix on Thursday night. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Matt Ryan is coming to town, which tends to mean trouble for the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons quarterback has dominated the rival Panthers of late, going 6-1 in his past seven starts while averaging 318 yards passing with 15 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. Ryan is 14-8 against Carolina. So, while much of the attention this week has been on Carolina's porous run defense - they've allowed opponents to run for a combined 516 yards and 10 touchdowns in the past three games - defensive coordinator Eric Washington knows the Panthers can't forget about old No. 2 and his favorite target Julio Jones. 'We know what he's capable of and they have explosive talent at the wide receiver position,' Washington said of Ryan. 'So we need to make sure we do a good job of getting him in third down situations they don't want to be in. And we have to be really efficient with our pass rush. The ball tends to come out fast on third-and-medium.' That won't be easy. Carolina's top cornerback James Bradberry is coming back from a groin injury this week, but the team's second- and third-best cornerbacks Donte Jackson and Ross Cockrell missed the first two days of practice this week with injuries and may not play. That means the Panthers (5-4) could have to lean on young players such as Javien Elliott, Cole Luke and Corn Elder, who was re-signed earlier this week because of injury concerns. The Falcons (2-7) may not be contending for a playoff spot, but showed last Sunday they still have plenty of life - and firepower - by throttling the Saints 26-9 NEW LOOK AT RUNNING BACK If Devonta Freeman is held out with a sprained foot, as expected, the Falcons will have a new look at running back. The position was considered to be the team's deepest spot before Ito Smith was placed on injured reserve last week following a concussion and a neck injury. Brian Hill played well behind Freeman last week and is expected to start. Former Panthers backup Kenjon Barner would be the top backup and Qadree Ollison, who was active for the first time against the Saints, could play a bigger role. Notably, Barner was used in the wildcat formation, filling the role formerly held by Mohamed Sanu before the receiver was traded to New England. There could be more direct snaps for Barner against the Panthers. NEW KICKER IS A KEEPER The Falcons may have found their kicker, at least for the remainder of the season, in Younghoe Koo. Koo made four field goals, including a career-long 48-yarder, in last week's win at New Orleans in his Falcons debut. Koo was signed after veteran Matt Bryant's second stint with the team didn't go well and Giorgio Tavecchio couldn't hold the job. Koo was the NFC special teams player of the week following his successful debut. He made three of six field-goal attempts with the Chargers in 2017 and kicked for the Atlanta Legends of the short-lived Alliance of American Football earlier this year. Koo, from South Korea, played for Georgia Southern. TACKLE CHANGE The Panthers drafted Greg Little in the second round earlier this year to be their left tackle, but two concussions have limited him to two games and one start this season. However, Little has now been cleared from the concussion protocol and is expected to start Sunday at left tackle with Dennis Daley sitting bothered by a groin injury. The Panthers have won both games that Little has played this season. SACKS SURPRISE Before last week's game, Atlanta ranked last in the league with only seven sacks. Suddenly the Falcons rediscovered their pass rush with six sacks against the Saints, including 2 by defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. Vic Beasley Jr., who has been unable to duplicate his 2016 production, when he led the NFL with 15 sacks, added 1 sacks. 'To me, it was just a good example to show what we're capable of,' Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. 'If we apply those things time after time, those are the results that we hope to get.' MORE OF MOORE The Panthers are getting more production of late out of second-year wide receiver D.J. Moore, who is coming off back-to-back 100-yard receiving games for the first time in his career. Moore had seven catches for 101 yards against the Titans two weeks ago and followed that up with a nine-catch, 120-yard performance last week against the Packers. Moore is leading the Panthers in receptions (54) and yards receiving (684). The next goal for him is getting into the end zone - he only has one TD catch. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • Georgia football is the No. 1 topic every day on DawgNation Daily the daily podcast for Georgia Bulldogs fans. Catch up on everything happening with UGA athletics with host Brandon Adams and the DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss coach Kirby Smart's quest to return the Bulldogs to the top of the SEC. On episode No. 1,073 (Nov. 14, 2019) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about how Georgia coach Kirby Smart matches wits with Auburn's Gus Malzahn. Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart might have something to prove vs. Gus Malzahn Beginning of the show: Georgia coach Kirby Smart is respected as a top defensive mind, but he hasn't always gotten the better of his head-to-head matchups with Auburn's Gus Malzahn. I'll discuss on today's show why the backstory between Smart and Malzahn is another compelling plot line in UGA's game with Auburn. 10-minute mark: I discuss the latest on 4-star tight end Theo Johnson. 15-minute mark: Mr. College Football Tony Barnhart joins the show. Some of the topics covered include The rich history of UGA's rivalry with Auburn A look at how tough a matchup Auburn is for the Bulldogs What to make of the College Football Playoff selection committee ranking UGA fourth Tuesday night Whether UGA can win a national championship as a defensive-led team 25-minute mark: I discuss wide receiver Lawrence Cager's status for Saturday. 30-minute mark: I take a look at other SEC headlines including Auburn reportedly installing new LED lights at season's end, South Carolina coach Will Muschamp's comparison between UGA and Alabama and former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoop's comments about possibly returning to college coaching. 35-minute mark: I share Smart's response to a question about UGA offensive line coach Sam Pittman possibly being a candidate to become Arkansas head coach, and I preview the weekend's top games. End of show: I share the Gator Hater Updater. The post Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart might have something to prove vs. Gus Malzahn appeared first on DawgNation.