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Georgia vs. Notre Dame Home-and-Home Is Great News for College Football Fans

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Georgia vs. Notre Dame Home-and-Home Is Great News for College Football Fans
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All of the talk about eight-game schedules, nine-game schedules and the impact of the College Football Playoff on top-tier out-of-conference games doesn't seem to faze Notre Dame or Georgia.

The rumored home-and-home series between the Fighting Irish and Bulldogs came to fruition on Wednesday, when the two schools announced meetings in South Bend on Sept. 9, 2017 and in Athens on Sept. 21, 2019.

"This series will generate an overwhelming level of excitement for our student-athletes and supporters," said Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity in a statement. "We have a tremendous amount of respect for Notre Dame and look forward to the start of this memorable experience."

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Notre Dame begins its loose partnership in football with the ACC this year, and athletics director Jack Swarbrick is pleased to add an SEC foe to its future schedules.

"One exception was the Southeastern Conference, so we are pleased now to be able to check that box," he said in a statement. "These will be two contests that will have great national appeal, in part because our only previous matchup came in a bowl game."

That matchup came in the 1981 Sugar Bowl, where Georgia topped Notre Dame 17-10 to claim the 1980 national title.

The meeting is another sign that, while some schools may choose to soften up their out-of-conference schedules from time to time, the College Football Playoff will still provide plenty of intriguing matchups.

Bryan Fischer of NFL.com points out some of the notable games on the docket for 2017.

For Georgia, that 2017 schedule will be a bear.

The intrastate rivalry with Georgia Tech will also be on the road, leaving Georgia only six possible home games in 2017 (the neutral-site Florida game counts as a road game in odd-numbered years). The Bulldogs will draw Auburn on the road in their permanent cross-division rivalry, and Ole Miss at home. If the Rebels keep recruiting at the level they currently are, look out.

Notre Dame has road games at Michigan State and Stanford highlighting its 2017 slate, and games at Texas, at Stanford and vs. USC highlighting its 2019 schedule.

JOE RAYMOND/Associated Press
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly

Scheduling tough opponents didn't seem to matter for either program. In fact, judging from the plans they already had in place for the 2017 and 2019 seasons, they embraced the treacherous path.

Will that sit well with the playoff selection committee?

That remains to be seen. If strength of schedule becomes a priority over other factors like conference titles (which it should), absolutely. 

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Georgia would love to run the table and win the SEC, which would all but assure the Bulldogs a spot in the College Football Playoff every year. But if that doesn't happen, beefing up that strength of schedule to leave no doubt of claiming any possible second spot for an SEC school is imperative.

Notre Dame doesn't have a conference title to fall back on, so a tough path will benefit the Irish more if it doesn't run the table.

What's great about this matchup, though, is that what it means to the playoff didn't matter. It's impossible to know what specific factors will be at play until the committee sits down and chooses the top four teams for real.

Notre Dame vs. Georgia will be must-see television between two traditional college football powers. That's what matters.

All of the other stuff, like how it will play with the selection committee, is secondary.

 

* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All future scheduling information is courtesy of FBSchedules.com.

 


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