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Georgia’s trip north to Notre Dame is way rarer than you might think

Notre Dame Touchdown Jesus
Matt Cashore/USA TODAY Sports

Thousands of curiosity seekers traveled to northeast Georgia Aug. 21 to see the total eclipse of the sun. An even rarer sight takes place Sept. 9 when the Georgia Bulldogs play at Notre Dame.

It will be Georgia’s first football game north of the Mason-Dixon Line since the Bulldogs beat Michigan 15-7 at Ann Arbor on Oct. 2, 1965.

52 years. Let that sink in.

Vince Dooley was in the second of his 25 seasons as coach of Georgia. Bump Elliott was in the seventh season of his decade leading the Wolverines. Georgia came into the game ranked No. 10 at 2-0, boasting a season-opening win over eventual national champion Alabama, and would finish 6-4. Michigan was also 2-0, ranked No. 7 at the time, but struggled to a 4-6 regular-season record.

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President Lyndon B. Johnson opened 1965 proclaiming “Great Society” programs in his January State of the Union address. Malcolm X was murdered in February. In March, the first U.S. combat troops arrived in Vietnam, and violence erupted on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The Watts riots in Los Angeles happened on August 11. Two days later The Beatles played at New York’s Shea Stadium, the first rock concert held in such a venue. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” debuted in early December, ending the year with what would become an annual tradition.

In 1965, a gallon of gas cost around 30 cents and a gallon of milk less than a buck. You could buy a sleek new Mustang coupe for less than $3,000 and a brand new house averaged less than $20,000 (those figures adjust to about $20,000 and $157,000 in contemporary dollars).

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The Dodgers won the 1965 World Series behind a remarkable performance from Sandy Koufax. The Green Bay Packers won the last NFL championship of the pre-Super Bowl era by beating Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns. The Boston Celtics won their seventh consecutive NBA title. UCLA won a second straight NCAA men’s basketball championship.

Since 1965, Georgia has rarely ventured farther from Athens than Columbia, Missouri – and it only started playing there when Missouri joined the SEC in 2012.
Georgia went west to Tempe in 2008 and bullied Arizona State, 27-10. The following year the Bulldogs lost 24-10 to Oklahoma State at Stillwater, and in 2010, they took an excursion to Boulder and fell 29-27 to Colorado.

Those few games are the only trips outside the South for Georgia since that 1965 Michigan game.

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If you are a Georgia fan living in the Northeast, Midwest, Southwest or West, don’t expect more opportunities to see the Bulldogs play in your area anytime soon. A visit to UCLA in 2025 currently is the only non-conference game scheduled for the Bulldogs away from the South.

So Georgia fans better enjoy the Notre Dame trip this season. It’s the rarest of sightings.

By the way, the next total solar eclipse in the U.S. occurs in 2024.

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(You can follow Bob Epling on Twitter @bobepling)

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