Mark Richt a central figure in two of Saturday’s biggest games

Mark Richt
Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports

There are three games Saturday that involve two top-10 teams, and Mark Richt is a key figure in two of them. The weird thing? The fans of the team he had the biggest hand in building want him to lose.

Top-ranked Georgia meets No. 10 Auburn, third-ranked Notre Dame faces Richt’s seventh-ranked Miami team and No. 5 Oklahoma meets No. 6 TCU on one of the biggest Saturdays of the 2017 season.

Richt and UM are one of the nation’s biggest surprises, but it’s Georgia that he had the biggest hand in building: 16 of the Bulldogs’ 22 starters – including 10 on defense – were signed by Richt when he was Bulldogs coach. He signed nine of the 22 Miami starters.

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While there are numerous Georgia fans who still like Richt – and are appreciative that he left behind so much talent for Kirby Smart – they will be pulling hard for Notre Dame on Saturday. That’s because the more the Irish win, the better it is for the Bulldogs. Georgia beat Notre Dame on September 9 in South Bend to hand the Irish their only loss. That’s the best win of the season for any team thus far, and it’s a big reason the Bulldogs are atop the College Football Playoff rankings.

When talking about his week’s rankings, CFP selection committee chairman Kirby Hocutt reference Georgia thusly: “Georgia with its undefeated record and its victory over Notre Dame is No. 1.”

After the first release of the rankings this season, Hocutt said “the committee gave a slight edge to Georgia (for No. 1) because of their win on the road against a very strong Notre Dame.”

Again, the more the Irish win, the better it is for the Bulldogs.

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Earlier this season Richt was asked about the Bulldogs. “I’m happy for Georgia,” he told SaturdayDownSouth.com. “I’m happy for all the kids I recruited and I’m happy for all the guys I didn’t recruit. Georgia is a great place. It has a special place in the hearts of myself and my wife, and I’m all for them having a lot of success.”

In that vein, then, perhaps he can find a sliver of solace should the Irish beat his Hurricanes.

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