Georgia and Notre Dame play a two-game football series beginning in 2017, Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity announced Wednesday.
Georgia will travel to South Bend on Sept. 9, 2017. The teams play in Athens on Sept. 21, 2019.
‚ÄúIt presents opportunities the institution has never experienced before,‚Äù McGarity said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs an opportunity for our fans and our student athletes to be able to play in one of the more storied, traditional facilities and venues in college football, so I think that presents a level of excitement.‚Äù
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly introduced the idea of the series, when he called Georgia a ‚Äúnatural matchup‚Äù for the Fighting Irish last fall.
‚ÄúOur ears started to perk up a bit once that comment was made,‚Äù McGarity said. ‚ÄúWe really didn‚Äôt follow up on it other than just trying to figure out what that relationship might be or that opportunity.‚Äù
Until Georgia hosted schools from the Sports Management Institute in Athens in January. A Notre Dame staff member mentioned the school‚Äôs interest in playing Georgia to McGarity and talks began, culminating in the announcement on Wednesday.
‚ÄúAs our football schedules evolved with the start of our Atlantic Coast Conference competition in 2014, we had future games slated with top-drawer opponents in virtually all the major conferences,‚Äù Notre Dame vice president/athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a release. ‚ÄúThe exception was the Southeastern Conference, so we are pleased now to check that box. These will be two contests that will have great personal appeal, in part because our only previous matchup came in a bowl game.‚Äù
The teams‚Äô only meeting came in the 1981 Sugar Bowl, when Georgia bested Notre Dame 17-10 to complete an undefeated season and earn a consensus national title.
‚ÄúPlaying Notre Dame will be an honor and a great challenge for us,‚Äù Georgia coach Mark Richt said in a release. ‚ÄúI have a lot of respect for the job Coach Kelly is doing there and I‚Äôm sure college football fans across the country will enjoy watching our two teams compete.‚Äù