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Notre Dame-Georgia series in the future?

Apr 8, 2014, 1:53 PM EDT

Brian Kelly podium

With Notre Dame’s scheduling alliance with the ACC beginning next season, we’ll see a new collection of rivalries begin in earnest. But it doesn’t appear that athletic director Jack Swarbrick is done adding new opponents.

CBS Sports’ Jeremy Fowler is reporting that a home-and-home series between Notre Dame and Georgia looks close to being finalized for the 2018-19 seasons. It’ll be the first regular season game the Irish have played against an SEC opponent since beating Tennessee 41-21 in 2005.

While neither school has spoken on the record about the matchup, Fowler’s report finds some smoke beginning to form in Athens.

When reached Tuesday, Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity acknowledged verbal communication with Notre Dame about a potential series but stressed there’s no agreement in writing and, thus, no reason to get too excited.

McGarity added Georgia is always talking with schools about scheduling.

When asked about the 2018-19 dates, McGarity said meetings for later this decade have been discussed.

“I think it’d be great for the University of Georgia if we were able to make it happen,” McGarity said.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly sparked interest in August when he called Georgia a natural matchup for the Irish.

Both Swarbrick and Kelly have acknowledged that scheduling SEC opponents was a future priority. And Kelly’s interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution earlier this year was a hint that perhaps something was brewing.

While playing “like-minded institutions” has been part of the scheduling paradigm, taking on Georgia, another traditional power program, is a much more noteworthy game than rebooting the SEC scheduling with Vanderbilt.

Georgia and Notre Dame have met once, in the 1981 Sugar Bowl, when Herschel Walker ran for 150 yards and the unbeaten Bulldogs defeated the Irish 17-10.


  1. ndoneill - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    This is awesome.

    Since Swarbrick came in it’s been as if Notre Dame hired a strategy consulting firm; they’ve shaken up the stale, decades old business-as-usual pattern and made some dramatic changes that I think will later prove essential for ensuring Notre Dame’s long-term place in top echelon of college football.

    I like this new identity: taking on all comers (USC, Texas, Oklahoma, FSU, now Georgia), adding some flash (Shamrock Series) without sacrificing traditional identity, and building ND’s presence in recruiting hotbeds Texas (host of two SS games in past few years) and the South (ACC affiliation).

    These are some serious corporate strategy decisions playing out.

    • onward2victory - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:11 PM

      Right on ndoneill. Coach Kelly is an excellent coach, and I certainly hope ND is able to keep him for years to come. But when he interviewed with the Eagles last year, I said that I would rather lose Kelly than Savvy Jack. Swarbrick has been crucial in navigating Notre Dame through this crazy transitional time. And if Kelly were to leave, I think Swarbrick would be able to get a top candidate, something that previous AD’s were unable to do. If the NCAA were smart they would make Swarbrick an offer he can’t refuse and bring him on as commissioner to bring them out of the quick sand they’re stuck in. Overall, Jack’s the man, glad we have him on our side. Go Irish, beat the Bulldogs!

      • 1historian - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:36 PM

        At the time of the Philly scare Kelly said that he was just checking it out, and there were no serious offers made. I believe that.

        If, however, he DID leave for the NFL – with the talent he has on campus right now and what is coming, I couldn’t see Swarbrick having much trouble replacing him.

        FSU, Alabama, USC, MSU, Michigan, OSU, Nebraska, Georgia, Florida, Miami, etc.

        One thing, however, will NEVER change – for both those who love her and those who hate her and even those who don’t care, wherever they may be: there has been, there is now, and there will always be just one –

        Notre Dame.

        Some things never change, except to get better.

  2. fnc111 - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    I think this is the best SEC option to play. Richt is a classy coach too. Over the last decade they are the third best SEC team in my opinion. Nice change of pace if it happens.

  3. 25kgold - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    All we have to do is beat Michigan, and I’ll welcome any school as replacement.

  4. rdw71 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    notice the pattern – where are the most fertile states for recruiting talent? – Florida (check), Texas (check), California (check), North Carolina (via the ACC – check), and now Georgia. When ND puts these teams on its schedule, its chances of recruiting kids from those states increase.

    • onward2victory - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      Because of this, you’d think schools like Georgia and Texas would want to keep ND out of their states, and therefore not schedule them. I wonder what the incentive is from their perspective? Seems like the best way to get to the college FB playoff would be to schedule cupcakes instead. Hats off to these schools for scheduling a tough out-of-conference opponent.

      • papadec - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:07 PM

        I could be wrong, and time will tell, but I think scheduling cupcakes will hurt programs more than help them with the new selection process. I just hope that if, or when, Georgia is added to the schedule – it won’t be one of the first three games of the season.

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        good point. I wonder if Georgia will get flak from other SEC schools and/or the conference itself for scheduling ND. it wouldn’t surprise me to hear there is some fall-out, especially with the SEC being protectionist, and not just a little bit backward.

      • martyhealy - Apr 9, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        A lot of great comments on here! I like the idea of scheduling the best. I think this year and a big “if” , a one loss season will likely put them in the 4 team playoff.We would be hoping to nail that 4th spot. LSU went to the BCS Championship with two losses in 2007 when only two teams were selected.

        Not having that extra conference championship game will hurt us if we went 10-2 and going against selections that have 11-2 records and also play in tough conferences.

        I hope they get to an eight team playoff soon, Then a 10-2 team playing a really tough schedule is almost a lock for a spot.

  5. musketmaniac - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    mistake, They can’t handle good sec teams. stick with Vanderbilt or Mississippi, they’re more their speed .

    • mediocrebob - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:51 PM

      Notre Dame has fared pretty well vs the SEC.

      • papadec - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:13 PM

        hey bob – I think you omitted the 2012 BCS Championship game that BAMA won. I think many of us would like to forget that game.

  6. mediocrebob - Apr 8, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    They’ll still be the haters that rip the Irish for their schedule. Makes me laugh. Notre Dame has proved over and over that they aren’t scared of anyone.

    • papadec - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:32 AM

      Hopefully the haters are the trolls under the bridge – not the voting members of the selection committee.

  7. irishdog80 - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    Georgia is a great choice for a home and home with the SEC. Originally, I had thought Vanderbilt, a like minded school, would be a sensible opponent, but they have been nipping at our heals lately. Vanderbilt would get the same kind of boost from playing ND that we will get from playing Georgia.

  8. jef02282001 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    Do not expect Kelly to be long enough to coach the Irish versus the Bulldogs.

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