Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

UGA vs. Notre Dame - a risk well worth running

Scott Woerner intercepts a pass; Irish eyes aren't smiling. (AJC file photo)

Georgia has announced that it will play Notre Dame in 2017 (there) and 2019 (here, or more precisely in Athens) . When you play somebody good, there's always the chance you'll lose. In the grand scheme, however, that will be a risk even more worth taking.

We're about to enter the playoff era. With a committee to select the teams, as opposed to a combination of computer rankings and polls, strength of schedule is going to matter more than it has. We're going to see deserving two-loss teams make the four-team field. In the BCS era, only one two-loss team played for the title -- LSU in 2007.

That was the year Georgia also had two losses, but the Tigers played the better schedule. (Which isn't to say LSU was playing better than the Bulldogs at the regular season's end. It wasn't.) Given the changing face of the sport, I think the motto of a big-time program ought to mirror that of the British Special Air Service: Who dares, wins.

Now here's one for y'all to discuss: Will Mark Richt, who's 54, still be coaching Georgia in 2017? (I'm not suggesting he'll get fired before then, mind you. I'm wondering if he'll choose to call it a career.) How about 2019? And will the Bulldogs complete more passes than they did in their only previous meeting with the Irish?

On Jan. 1, 1981, Georgia quarterback Buck Belue was 1-for-12 against Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, but the one -- for seven yards -- was a key completion as the Bulldogs were nursing their fourth-quarter lead en route to a national championship. Me, I'm guessing Georgia completes at least three passes come Sept. 9, 2017.

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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.