ATHENS - Georgia and Notre Dame as "natural" rivals? That's what Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly reportedly said a few days ago.
#NotreDame coach Brian Kelly would like to play SEC during reg season, but ACC commitment gets in way. Calls Georgia a natural matchup.— Eric Hansen (@hansenNDInsider) August 2, 2013
Kelly apparently wasn't asked a follow-up as to why he said Georgia. On Monday, Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt laughed it off.
"I don't know how in the world we got in the conversation of the Notre Dame schedule," Richt said, his voice cracking into near-laughter. "But we're all for playing Notre Dame, or whoever else."
They did almost play after last season: Georgia would have met Notre Dame in the BCS championship if it had scored that last touchdown against Alabama. But as it is, the last and only time they've played was in the 1981 national title game, which the Bulldogs won.
But other than that the chances of the two ever scheduling each other are pretty low. Kelly's point was that its new ACC scheduling arrangement precludes an SEC matchup. Georgia, meanwhile, is on hold until the SEC decides on whether to go to nine games. If it does, that would make marquee non-conference games (other than Georgia Tech) a rarity.
Georgia senior tight end Arthur Lynch, a native of Massachusetts, is a Catholic who grew up going to Notre Dame-Boston College games. His grandfather dreamed of going to Notre Dame, then ended up playing baseball and football at Holy Cross, another Catholic school.
"For me, I've always liked them. It would be interesting to see them play," Lynch said. "It wouldn't be a Holy War, like they say at BC-Notre Dame. But it'd be kinda cool. It'd be surreal. I'd try to steal some gear, some Fighting Irish, for my grandfather."