In 2017, the Dawgs will head to South Bend, and two years later, the Irish will travel south to Athens. This will not only be a wonderful opportunity for the fans of both schools, but a chance to even the score for the Irish, who lost to the Dawgs 17-10 in the 1981 Sugar Bowl. That game remains near and dear to the hearts of all Dawg fans, as this victory catapulted them to the national championship. As it stands, Georgia is the only SEC school with a winning record over the Irish.
Georgia has not been a stranger to out-of-conference tilts in recent years, but this one will be special. While games against Oklahoma State and Arizona State are entertaining and certainly fun road trips, they do not have the tradition and presence of Notre Dame. The ubiquity of the Irish name is still palpable, even after several years of mediocrity and coaching changes. While many of the players on the field may not remember the days of Paul Hornung or even Rocket Ismail, many Dawg fans in the stands will be excited to take on the mystique that surrounds Touchdown Jesus and the Golden Dome in South Bend.
On the other side, Irish fans will get a chance to experience Athens and a rabid SEC crowd. Notre Dame has played very few SEC opponents in the last decade and none in the regular season since Tennessee in 2006. Perhaps a victory in Athens would take some of the sting out of their last SEC matchup with Alabama, a resounding defeat that appeased many naysayers of the sentiment that Notre Dame was “back.”
In any event, Brian Kelly has put a shine back on the program, and a series with Georgia could prove to be a stepping stone to greatness. Plus, it could help with exposure to southern recruits, where Notre Dame has had some success.
Kudos to the athletic directors for getting this done. It should be a fun series, and maybe a new rivalry will begin.