When discussing Notre Dame's future schedule this spring, coach Brian Kelly hasn't hidden the Irish's desire to schedule an SEC team. That SEC team could be Georgia.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told the Macon Telegraph that the two schools could play sometime between 2017-2020. That lines up with the timeline Kelly mentioned last week. He said Notre Dame was looking to add an SEC team after the school's series with Texas in 2015 and 2016.
"I think it's an opponent we've played, what, one time?" McGarity said. "1980? For our fans to be able to go up to South Bend, and for our fans to see Notre Dame play between the hedges, I think from a national perspective it'd be off the charts, as far as interest, as far as intrigue," McGarity said. "That would be something out of the ordinary that our fans would be very, very excited about."
Georgia and Notre Dame played in the 1981 Sugar Bowl. Georgia won the game 17-10 and were crowned the national champions of the 1980 season.
If the series comes to fruition, Notre Dame would in theory fulfill the "major opponent" requirement on the SEC's new schedule. Starting in 2016, SEC teams have to play a team from a power-five conference in addition to its eight conference games. But Georgia doesn't need to worry about it thanks to its annual rivalry with Georgia Tech.
However, Notre Dame would add another major team to Georgia's schedule. After hosting Clemson in 2014, Georgia's 2015 non-conference schedule includes Southern, Louisiana-Monroe and Georgia Southern (watch out, Florida!) in addition to Georgia Tech.
"Next year's the first year since 2012 we haven't played two tough out-of-conference opponents. So we've done our fair share of the heavy lifting," McGarity said. "The strength of schedule is something we talked about today: What does that mean? There is no metric. I can't go to Sagarin, and the committee's not going to use Sagarin as a strength of schedule. It's gonna be in the eye of the beholder."
For Notre Dame, Georgia fits the bill of expanding its recruiting footprint. When talking about scheduling an SEC team, Kelly narrowed down the options by mentioning Notre Dame's game in Tallahassee against Florida State, seemingly ruling out Florida. However, because of the scheduling agreement with the ACC, Georgia Tech, like Florida State, will be a semi-regular opponent of the Fighting Irish.
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