While scheduler Arthur Johnson confirmed to the Athens Banner-Herald that UGA has been approached about playing a nonconference game in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome in 2010, it’s apparently still not a done deal. Johnson said the Dogs, who travel to Colorado that season, still have two schedule spots to fill for 2010, “preferably at home.” Sounds like Georgia’s not going to jump on that dome offer unless it’s really sweet.
In the meantime, Johnson told the ABH, the New Mexico State Aggies have accepted an eye-opening payday of $925,000 to come to Athens for a Nov. 5 game in 2011, between the Florida and Auburn games. That’s the most UGA has ever bribed, er, paid a visiting team, but that’s apparently what schedule fodder costs these days. This will be the Aggies’ fourth trip to Athens, with the Dogs having posted big wins over them in 2002, 2000 and 1995.
That will make for a less than compelling schedule in 2011, when the Dogs’ nonconference slate also will include Louisville and Coastal Carolina in addition to the Trade School, and the rotating SEC schedule has us playing the two Mississippi schools that year.
So far, UGA’s effort in recent seasons to branch out from mostly playing designated losers with directional names in bolstering its nonconference schedule has produced middling results, with the likes of Boise State, Colorado, Okie State, Arizona State and, a few years down the road, Clemson. But in talking with Dog fans, I hear a definite yearning for the program to kick it up a notch and schedule a top name, preferably to a home-and-home deal, not a one-off in Atlanta.
The team mentioned most often by fans? Easy. Texas (where it’s still 10 to 9). Apparently a lot of the Bulldog Nation would like to see the Dogs matched up with the Longhorns and wouldn’t mind a trip to Austin at all. Other names that come up frequently in such conversations include Michigan (the Dogs were last in Ann Arbor for Vince Dooley’s major upset in 1965) and Oklahoma. USC’s Trojans, not so much. What with the distance involved, that seems like a better bowl match.
Speaking of bowl games, Collegefootballnews.com has come up with a fanciful “way too early” set of predictions for the coming season’s BCS bowl matchups, which you can read here.
And while on the subject of the BCS, I’m not a fan of that very flawed system of picking a national college football champion, but I know one thing for sure: Getting Congress involved isn’t a good idea. You probably read about last week’s hearing held by a House subcommittee in which a Republican congressman from Texas threatened the BCS with legislation preventing it from calling its title game a “national” championship unless it starts moving toward a playoff system.
Like most fans, of course, I’d prefer a playoff to the current mess involving polls and computer rankings, but the real problem with Congress getting involved is all the talk about how the BCS, controlled by the major conferences, isn’t a fair way to divvy up the spoils. This is prompted mostly by the Mountain West folks, still pouting over Utah not being in the most recent championship game. A Mountain West Conference rep called the current distribution of money “grossly inequitable.”
I’m sorry, but all college football conferences aren’t created equal, and while the best Mountain West team can occasionally whip a good SEC or Big 12 team, the level of play in the also-ran conferences isn’t up to what the big boys play. As the ACC’s John Swofford, current head of the BCS, told the Congressional panel, the current system “represents the marketplace.”
Eventually, the marketplace (the TV audience) will make its preference for a playoff heard loudly enough that the college presidents and bowls (the forces against a playoff) will have to come up with something along those lines. It may take a while and it no doubt won’t be a perfect system, but it’s likely to be a lot better than anything that Congressional meddlers can come up with.
Bulldog Bites: UGA’s men’s golf team is the No. 1 seed for the NCAA Regional that will be held next week in Sorrento, Fla. The Dogs and 13 other teams will compete at the Red Tail Golf Club May 14-16 for the chance to go to the NCAA Championship May 26-30 at the Inverness Golf Club in Toledo, Ohio. … While the Diamond Dogs were imploding last week, the softball team finished out its regular season with three wins and saw sophomore Taylor Schlopy named SEC player of the week and senior Christie Hamilton selected as pitcher of the week. The softball Bulldogs enter postseason play with a 39-9 record. … Mark Richt told the Banner-Herald that he’s content with keeping an indoor practice facility on the back burner while training, weight and recruiting facilities at the Butts-Mehre building are upgraded. … Collegefootballnews.com also has come up with a ranking of the best programs for producing running backs, and UGA comes in third behind USC and Auburn. Check it out here.