Fact or Fiction: Jim Harbaugh, Kirby Smith, Notre Dame vs. UGA
National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
1. Wisconsin is a must-win for Jim Harbaugh and Michigan.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. Guys like Paul Finebaum keep talking about Harbaugh like he’s on the hot seat or something. This is an important game for the Wolverines against a good opponent on the road, but let’s be serious: Harbaugh could go 7-5 this season and be in zero jeopardy of losing his job. I don’t think that happens, I have the Wolverines closer to 9-3 overall by season's end, but still there is no such thing as a must win for Harbaugh in September. Not ever, not while he’s at Michigan.
Gorney’s take: FACT. There is zero chance Jim Harbaugh is on any hot seat or anything close to it, but it’s also true that his teams have not performed well against high-end competition since he’s been back in Ann Arbor. This would be a huge victory for Michigan because the schedule then becomes pretty manageable into mid-October before it gets pretty tough heading into the dog days of the season.
Michigan looked awful against Army, and Wisconsin has looked unstoppable. Let’s see what this Wolverines offense can really do and let’s see if the Michigan defense can slow down Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor, arguably the best running back in college football, who should get the ball a lot. Nothing is a must-win for Harbaugh, but this is pretty close.
2. Kirby Smart is one of the top three head coach recruiters in college football.
Farrell’s take: FACT. This one is easy. If the statement was “the top head coach recruiter” it would be FICTION because we all know Nick Saban is No. 1, but Dabo Swinney and Kirby Smart are up there in the top three without a doubt. Back -to-back No. 1 classes is no joke, and Georgia is recruiting toward a national title.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Top three is an easy call. I can argue that he’s currently the best overall head coach recruiter, even better than Saban.
Without even winning a national title yet, Smart put together one of the best recruiting classes in Rivals history two years ago with eight five-star signees. Last year, Georgia finished atop the team recruiting rankings again. And Georgia is within striking distance of getting it done yet again. The Bulldogs have lost two five-star quarterbacks in recent years in Jacob Eason and Justin Fields and they still have one of the best in the game in Jake Fromm.
Smart is doing a phenomenal job loading up that roster at every position and it’s only a matter of time until Georgia wins a national title with so many good players.
3. Notre Dame will get destroyed by Georgia.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. Notre Dame keeps this close. Yes, I know the Irish don’t match up well against a much more athletic Georgia team and they will struggle against the run and the short passing game, but ND can also move the ball and put up some points. I can see Notre Dame losing this game by a touchdown to 10 points - and that is not a destruction, as many are predicting.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Destroyed? No. But Georgia will handily win this game. It’s a night game in Athens, a huge recruiting weekend and this is a tremendous team on both sides of the ball against a Notre Dame team that’s very talented, but not to this level.
I don’t think it’s going to be like the 30-3 loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff last season, but it’s going to be clear that Georgia is on one level and Notre Dame is one peg down. All the betting trends say this is going to be a lower-scoring game, but I don’t know. I think both teams could trade scores before Georgia’s defense starts to get turnovers or forces Notre Dame three-and-outs and the Bulldogs’ offense capitalizes. I’ll take Georgia 34-21.