Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is entering his second season with the Bulldogs, who open their season Sept. 2 against Appalachian State after finishing 8-5 in 2016.
But the very next week after the opener, Georgia will play its most high-profile game of the season as it travels to Notre Dame on Sept. 9. That game will mark the second meeting ever between the Bulldogs and Fighting Irish, with Georgia winning 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 1980 season.
Georgia-Notre Dame is so high profile that it is included in the top 10 of ESPN’s high-stakes games for the 2017 season.
About the game, ESPN wrote: What's at stake: No coach from a major program enters the season feeling more heat than Notre Dame's Brian Kelly, who reshaped his staff — and himself — after a 4-8 fiasco that became a national punchline. While Kelly's comments and sideline behavior make him an easy target for criticism, his main problem is an inability to win big games. Since beating eventual Rose Bowl champion Michigan State in September 2013, Kelly is 5-10 against ranked teams and without a win against a top-10 opponent. Georgia is a bit of a mystery under second-year coach Kirby Smart, but the Bulldogs are experienced enough — and possibly talented enough — to contend in the SEC. Kelly desperately needs this win, and to a lesser extent, so does Smart, who had only one notable win (Auburn) in his debut season.
The list includes four other games involving SEC teams: Auburn at LSU on Oct. 14; Florida vs. Michigan on Sept. 2; Texas A&M at UCLA on Sept. 3; and Florida State at Florida on Nov. 25.