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Georgia fans choose several extra hours in South Bend over $3,000 from airline

Let’s ask a South Bend veteran how smart that is.

No. 15 Georgia is playing at Notre Dame on Saturday for the first time ever (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC). It’s a unique road trip for the Dawgs, who rarely travel anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line. (But not never, despite what you might hear this weekend.)

UGA has a passionate football fanbase. A number of those folks are making the trip to South Bend for the game, and they’re eager to get there. Let’s go for a trip through the gate and tarmac at the Atlanta airport with Zach Klein, the sports director at WSB in Atlanta:

This Delta flight was supposed to leave Atlanta for South Bend at 9:55 a.m. ET. Friday. But a bunch of people apparently had tickets, and Delta had to deal with an overflow.

That means a massive profit opportunity for those willing to catch a later flight. In my experience that comes in the form of a travel voucher, not cash, but still: money!

That’s a lot!

That’s even more!

We’re still going!

That’s lucrative!

And finally, Delta got a taker, for $4,000:

To be clear, kickoff is 33.5 hours after this flight’s scheduled departure.

The flight time on a direct trip from Atlanta to South Bend is between 1:52 and 1:57, per Google Flights. So if you leave at 7 p.m., you’re still probably landing by 9, and you’re still at your hotel by 10ish, and the night’s still young. Maybe you desperately want to go out on Friday in South Bend, but you’ve still got time.

In an attempt to analyze why anyone would be this eager to get to South Bend, Ind., on a Friday at noon instead of later in the evening — why they’d rather get there sooner than have $3,000 to spend on flights of their choosing — I asked’s Notre Dame person, Jessica Smetana. She told me:

A Georgia fan may want to arrive at Notre Dame a few hours early to visit Notre Dame’s famous Golden Dome, or light a candle at the Grotto, or take a photo in front of Touchdown Jesus. More likely, they’re tryna get wasted and forget that they’re in Indiana. I recommend Clover Quarts at O’Rourkes, $3 double wells at Brothers and South Bend’s finest disgusting bar, The Linebacker.

Even Smetana, who’s arguably too into Notre Dame football, advised passengers to cut and run with the reward:

None of those things are worth $3,000, though. Take the $3,000 next time for Christ’s sake.

The UGA fans already in South Bend do seem to be having a grand time.

A bunch of them went to Irish coach Brian Kelly’s live radio show last night and got loud.

I’d rather have $4,000, but that does seem pretty fun.