We still find ourselves mired in the slime of "warm up games" and other mismatches that makes finding worthy games to prognosticate difficult. It was hard to choose 10 match ups that would be both of interest and also not shooting fish in a barrel. But it is fair to remember that many of these games send much needed funding and attention to smaller schools with fewer resources. So while they aren't always the best options for fans, they do have their benefits.
Let's take a look:
UGA at Notre Dame
If you grew up in Georgia and were not a rabid Tech fan, UGA-Notre Dame immediately brings for the January 1, 1981 Sugar Bowl in which Vince Dooley and the Georgia Bulldogs secured the 1980 National Championship. But more than a generation of Dawg fans have come of age recognizing that triumph from any of roughly 300 billion Coke bottles as well as ubiquitous other memorabilia recognizing the event.
Notre Dame is also a favorite heel of football fans, especially Southerners. It would be hard to place a finger on any one thing that turns us against him but with a few notable exceptions, the South hates the Fighting Irish.
Tomorrow's match up will stir up all sorts of emotions and memories but in the long run Dooley, Walker, and Russell as well as Rockne, Rudy, and The Gipper Himself will be nothing more than symbols of the iconic past. This game is going to be determined by the generation of Kirby and Kelly and the realities of the present. I never like to discount history and tradition as they can provide a psychological edge in an otherwise even pairing. The ghosts and echos of Notre Dame Stadium are thick. That cannot be denied. But Kirby Smart has Michel and Chubb in place of Walker. He also has this wild theory that Dooley never pondered - that the quarterback could throw the ball through the air and a player downfield could catch it. He also has an exciting promise in a freshman who appears talented in doing so. And that is why the Dawgs take the win on the road.
Auburn at Clemson
Tigers vs. Tigers. This could prove to be the best match up of the weekend. Or it could be an absolute disaster. And that fact is what is driving the pick on this game. There is little doubt that Clemson is a dominant force, a top tier team. Auburn also has that potential. But one thing of late has me wary of choosing the Plainsman. Inconsistency. Auburn may come out and go toe to toe with Clemson for all 60 minutes. but they are equally likely to roll out on the field and lay an egg. With this game being played in the shadow of Howard's Rock, I'm picking the Tigers. The Clemson Tigers.
Jacksonville State at Georgia Tech
While I wouldn't blame you for crediting a misguided use of emotion and nostalgia for making this one, I'd like to make a few point first. Tech is coming off an emotional overtime loss to Tennessee Monday night. With only four days to prepare for a very good football team who has had two weeks to do the same, Tech is honestly at a disadvantage here. Say what you want. The Gamecocks are going to beat Georgia Tech.
The Rest of the Field
Duke over Northwestern
Louisville over North Carolina
Arkansas over TCU
South Carolina over Missouri
Ohio State over Oklahoma
Southern Cal over Stanford
BYU over Utah