While it’s not 100% official official just yet, all signs now point to the September 21st Georgia/Notre Dame game in Athens being an 8:00 pm start as the back half of an early season SEC double header. How can we be so sure. Deduction, my dear Watson. First:
The other SEC games of note that week include Florida/Tennessee, LSU at Vandy, Kentucky at Missouri, South Carolina at Missy State, and Auburn at Texas A&M. With all due respect to those fanbases, none is a game CBS is using its one prime time slot per season to broadcast. At the point that CBS announces it is broadcasting a game in that slot on 9/21, it’s Georgia/Notre Dame. The 3:30 game is likely whichever of UF/UT and Aggies/Aubies appears most interesting 10 days out from kickoff.
Also of note is that this means the November 9th marquee LSU/Alabama matchup in Tuscaloosa will likely be a 3:30 eastern start (CBS has used its prime time option on that one frequently in recent years).
The start time is a good barometer of both the national cache the program has developed under Kirby Smart and the attractiveness of this sort of intersectional game to TV execs. This one was already going to be a pretty hot ticket, but the atmosphere of a game under the lights probably only ratchets that up.
If I have one regret about the start time it’s that we won’t get to watch Fighting Irish linemen from Des Moines and Minneapolis and Detroit enjoy the singular pleasure of playing a mid-afternoon football game in Georgia humidity. It’s a special kind of suffocating joy, and I regret we can’t treat our guests to it. Maybe a pregame lunch at Taco Stand will work as a substitute. Until later...