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UGA looking to schedule Midwestern powers

ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia is reaching out to several powerhouse Midwestern football programs in the hopes of scheduling games later in the decade.

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Preliminary discussions have taken place with Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State about the prospect of one or more of them scheduling a home-and-home series with Georgia in the future, UGA athletics director Greg McGarity confirmed to Dawgs247.

“We’d love to do a home-and-home with a Big Ten or Midwestern school that has a rich tradition,” McGarity said. “We’re going to work as hard as we can to make that happen.

“Hopefully, within the next year, we’ll be able to have something in writing.”

The earliest Georgia could potentially add a two-year series of this caliber would be after an existing home-and-home series with Clemson expires in 2014, but such a high-profile schedule addition would likely occur “way down the road,” said McGarity.

None of those four possible opponents mentioned have ever played a game in Sanford Stadium, and only one of them – Michigan – has ever appeared on UGA’s regular season schedule. The Bulldogs have visited Ann Arbor twice in their history, losing 26-0 in 1957 and winning 15-7 in 1965.

Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State have each played Georgia only once, with all meetings occurring in bowl games.

The Bulldogs beat the Fighting Irish 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl to win the 1980 national championship. Two years later, an unbeaten Georgia team faced Penn State in the Sugar Bowl with similar stakes and lost 27-23.

Georgia’s only meeting with Ohio State was in the 1993 Florida Citrus Bowl, a game won 21-14 by the Bulldogs.

Georgia hasn't played Notre Dame since beating the Irish in the Sugar Bowl to claim the Bulldogs' most recent national title.

Despite future scheduling ambitions, McGarity remains firm in saying he’d prefer to schedule seven games in Sanford Stadium each season, a goal that must take in account two factors every other year: The annual Florida game in Jacksonville shorting UGA an SEC home game and the annual game against Georgia Tech requiring a non-conference road game.

Though the Yellow Jackets were in Athens this season, the Bulldogs only played six home games because of the SEC schedule giving them three conference home games and an agreement for the Oct. 2 game at Colorado.

With that in mind, a scheduled Georgia-Oregon series in 2015 and 2016 was cancelled in September, soon after McGarity took over for predecessor Damon Evans, through mutual agreement of the two schools.

“A seven-game home model, to me, is what works,” McGarity has said. “It’s great for the local vendors. When you only have six home games, then you’re removing one of the few weekends in the fall that your local community can basically have a chance to generate some revenue.”

However, McGarity hasn’t been immune to scheduling high-profile games to this point in his tenure. Georgia was a late addition for the 2011 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, where it will face Boise State to open next season.

In agreeing to that game, UGA (with help from Chick-fil-A officials) paid to terminate an existing two-year agreement with Louisville that was set to start in 2011.

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