A claim you’re gonna hear a lot this weekend, as No. 15 Georgia travels to play No. 24 Notre Dame: The Dawgs allegedly haven’t played a game north of the Mason-Dixon Line since a 1965 game at Michigan. It’s being repeated all over.
However, the Dawgs have played farther north than the Mason-Dixon Line since 1965.
They played at Colorado in 2010.
Here’s where Colorado’s home stadium is, in relation to where the MDL would be, if it went all the way west:
The MDL’s geographic latitude is about 39°43′N. Boulder’s is 40°01′N. The bigger the number, the farther away from the equator, meaning Boulder is more north than where the MDL would be.
Hang on, what is the Mason-Dixon Line?
Basically, the Pennsylvania-Maryland-Delaware border.
It doesn’t refer to what a lot of people seem to think it refers to; it’s not some sort of Civil War boundary. Maryland didn’t try to leave the United States via war, for one thing.
In more common usage, it long ago came to refer to the line between wherever the North is and wherever the South is. Saying “the Mason-Dixon Line” these days typically refers more to some imaginary gray area somewhere between Big Ten Land and SEC Land, rather than a small, specific border that established lines between three states hundreds of years ago.
It’s sometimes conflated with the 1820 Missouri Compromise line, but that goes as far south as Dang Near Tennessee. Georgia’s division games at Mizzou or Kentucky are more northerly than that line’s southernmost point.
But Boulder, Colorado isn’t technically north of the MDL if the MDL ends before Ohio. So is the 1965 stat still true?
If only stadiums directly north of the line counted, not even playing as far north as UConn or UMass would count. If that were the standard, any Big Ten schedule that didn’t include a trip to Penn State wouldn’t make the cut. Imagine saying Wisconsin isn’t playing anybody north of the MDL.
If only teams straight north of the tiny red line counted, then UGA’s 1965 game at Michigan would not count as being played north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Ann Arbor, Mich. is west of the MDL’s ending point. Nor would UGA’s 2017 game at Notre Dame count, despite being north of where the MDL would be if it ran through Indiana.
However, if we’re talking games farther north than the line, as in, north of where the line would be if it went all the way across, then games at UConn, Rutgers, Michigan, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Colorado, Montana State, Washington, and so on would all count.
Can we still make fun of UGA for rarely playing games outside the South?
Go nuts! Just say it that way, if you want to be technically accurate. It’s amazing UGA only made one actual Northern trip between 1965 and 2017.
Midwesterners have long had legit gripes about the sport’s lack of postseason games in their part of the world and have long complained about Southern teams rarely wanting to play in the cold. That stuff is what’s going on when people share this supposed stat.
Everyone has a good time laughing at Florida’s lack of non-conference travels outside the state, so this is the Gator fan’s geography revenge.