Amid feast-or-famine home schedules, Dogs fans long for the Longhorns

Which opponents would you like to see come face the Dawg Nation in Athens? (Perry McIntyre Jr. / UGA)

Which opponents would you like to see come face the Dawg Nation in Athens? (Perry McIntyre Jr. / UGA)

Last week I was chatting with someone who moved here three years ago from Big 10 country and has never seen an SEC football game in person. He asked me which Georgia game in Athens I’d recommend he try to attend this season.

I ended up suggesting the Tennessee game, because it involves two SEC teams (unlike the season opener against Clemson), the weather is likely to be a little more moderate (unlike the season opener against Clemson) and he wouldn’t have to wait until mid-November for Auburn.

My son chided me for offering up only the third-best home game on this year’s schedule to a newcomer, which brought home to me what a terrific home slate the Bulldogs have this season, starting with the return match in a home-and-home with ACC power and long-ago regular UGA rival Clemson (over whom the Dogs are favored by 7 points in the first betting spread out of Vegas). Throw in the Vols, Auburn and Georgia Tech, and you have a pretty exciting group of games set for Athens. Even the Vandy game could be interesting.

Then, of course, there are the usual pair of cupcake games that will get no one excited — Troy and Charleston Southern — but at least they provide an excuse to go to the Classic City, tailgate and watch football.

As good as this year’s home schedule is, however, next year’s looks much less enticing.

In 2015, Georgia knows it will play South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky and an unknown rotating team from the SEC West at Sanford Stadium, plus a very weak nonconference schedule, the likes of which athletic director Greg McGarity should try to avoid ever repeating: Southern University and A&M College, the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Georgia Southern.

The one thing that could improve the 2015 home schedule is the possibility that Alabama might visit Sanford Stadium. The Tuscaloosa News originally expected that to happen in 2014, though it didn’t work out, but the Crimson Tide’s hometown paper has reported a trip to Athens as “likely” for 2015. The 2015 SEC schedule should be announced soon.

At least now we know how many conference games the Dogs will be playing, thanks to Sunday’s decision to stick with eight SEC games and maintain the permanent cross-division rivals (Auburn for Georgia) as well as requiring a game each season against a team from one of the four other power conferences (Georgia Tech already supplies that for UGA).

But what about those other nonconference spots on the home schedule? Amid the cupcakes, which he sees as necessary, McGarity has indicated a willingness to schedule home-and-home series with the occasional marquee opponent in addition to Tech.

CBS Sports recently reported that Georgia and Notre Dame are working to finalize a home-and-home series, possibly for 2018-19.

Would you fancy a trip to South Bend to watch Georgia and Notre Dame play? (Associated Press)

Would you fancy a trip to South Bend to watch Georgia and Notre Dame play? (Associated Press)

McGarity would only acknowledge that talks have taken place — saying UGA has “had talks with lots of people” and that a matchup with the Irish is no more likely than any of the others — but he did add: “I think it’d be great for the University of Georgia if we were able to make it happen.” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly had previously sparked interest in such a game last summer when he called Georgia a natural matchup for the Fighting Irish.

Georgia fans no doubt would enjoy a trip to South Bend, home of Touchdown Jesus, and there’s no denying having the Irish Between the Hedges would be a welcome addition to any season’s home slate — that is, as long as it’s not the opening game of the season (when the Dogs consistently have key players suspended thanks to the school’s tough disciplinary policies).

Georgia has, in fact, played more games against teams from other power conferences in recent seasons than any other SEC school. But scheduling these home-and-home series with major opponents is a tricky thing. While his predecessor, Damon Evans, was big on them — adding Oklahoma State, Arizona State and Colorado — McGarity canceled a home-and-home series with Oregon set by Evans for 2015-16, mainly because the Dogs found those long trips out west tended to be a strain on the players and hurt the team the following week, plus it means one less game in Athens.

Another high-profile match got scrubbed a couple of years ago when Ohio State canceled a series with UGA set for 2020-21.

Still, if Georgia is going to think about scheduling a name nonconference opponent, say, every three or four years, as McGarity has indicated, what other big-name teams should they go for?

I put that question to some friends and to Blawg followers on Facebook and Twitter this week and got some interesting results. By far, the marquee opponent that readers would most like to see added to Georgia’s schedule was Texas, named by nearly 1 out of 5 fans responding.

The next most desired opponent was Southern California, followed by a three-way tie between Ohio State, Michigan and Florida State. Then came a tie between UCLA and Oklahoma, followed by Miami.

Other schools drawing multiple votes included Notre Dame, Penn State, Washington and Stanford.

Also receiving mentions: North Carolina, BYU, Central Florida, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Oregon and “any Big 10 team.”

Of course, there’s always a joker in the pack, and this time it was my longtime friend Dan, who noted he’d be “in favor of scheduling Georgia Southern in alternate years with Georgia Tech — always a home game.” If Georgia Tech wants to keep playing UGA, Dan said, it should be “on our terms.”

So, what do you think? Is adding another marquee nonconference opponent every three or four years enough, or should the Dogs face seasons like 2013-14 — playing another name team in addition to Tech — more frequently? And what big-name opponent would you most like to see added to a future George schedule?

JUNKYARD MAIL CALL

What team are you yearning to see UGA play, and why? Got something else you want to discuss concerning the Dawgs? Or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Email me at  junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

111 comments Add your comment

Dawg_Mike

April 30th, 2014
10:34 am

Would love us to play a home and home with FSU. Recruiting in the South GA /North FL area would benefit from it plus it would be a very entertaining game. GO DAWGS

ViningsDawg

April 30th, 2014
11:11 am

I would definitely pay to see that.

Joe

April 30th, 2014
11:31 am

I think rotating Ga Southern and Kennesaw State instead of the Jackettes would be upgrading the schedule….(12-1)

BOB

April 30th, 2014
11:57 am

Speaking of the Longhorns, it sure looks like the Mack Brown 2013 in Athens. The meeting(s) between the AD and HC that resulted in sudden changes in coaches, ST approach and focus and a statement of renewed excitement on the part of the HC. Wonder if there are some milestones in terms of wins or SEC championships in place? UGA’s 2014 football season may be a historic one in more ways than one.

Smartt Dawg

April 30th, 2014
12:03 pm

Big Al

April 30th, 2014
12:33 pm

Dan has a point…AD should ponder on this idea…

wiseoldawg

April 30th, 2014
12:53 pm

What time is it in Texas? 10 to 9. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Rick

April 30th, 2014
1:46 pm

That scheduling out of conference teams hasn’t work so well for UGA. Losses to OSU, Clemson, Colorado, and throw in Boise State. The problem with the bad schedules could be easily solved by playing Florida home and home..

george

April 30th, 2014
2:57 pm

There is a reason all those series have been cancelled. When you lose to 50-75 % of the good teams you play it is hard to blame anyone for not wanting to play tougher schedules.

NoAxeToGrind

April 30th, 2014
3:19 pm

I think that people had better be careful what they wish for lest they come to regret it.

WDE

April 30th, 2014
3:56 pm

Rick when did we lose to OSU? Ohio State and the University of Georgia have played each other only once. That was in the 1993 Florida Citrus Bowl and Georgia won 21-14. So if your going to troll try just try to get it right..

Rick

April 30th, 2014
4:16 pm

WDE Oklahoma State University. If you are going to call somebody out get it right

dawgfan

April 30th, 2014
4:57 pm

I’d be comfortable playing a big name at our place but at their place no way. As already noted, that’s almost an automatic loss with Richt. We’re getting waxed out of conference on the road and hear nothing but excuses afterward. Joe Cox was sick for OSU. Colorodo was too far away. Clemson was too loud. We were young against Boise State in the Dome. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

We seem to have a difficult time playing in opposing stadiums that seat more than 50,000 people under Mark Richt.

Rabun Dawg

April 30th, 2014
5:52 pm

How about Michigan? Dooley took his Dogs up there in the late 60’s and whipped the Big Blue 15-7.Preston Ridlehuber(spelling?), QB at the time ,said that Michigan’s fat boys were “sucking wind” against the smaller dogs in the 2nd half! The “big house” would be a neat place to go again. If Appy St. can do it, why not the Dogs? If not there, how about Stanford? Palo Alto is a very pretty place, and a trip to the Bay area would be a treat. No doubt Austin and UT would be special as well.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

April 30th, 2014
6:02 pm

Im all for tough out of conference opponents once we turn our terrible record vs top 10 and top 25 teams around

Rick

April 30th, 2014
6:41 pm

I am a season ticket holder and I am alright with the schedule. Until we can win a National Championship with it why get one that is more difficult. And by the way have you seen Alabama’s schedule lately.

Pago Pago DAWG

April 30th, 2014
6:45 pm

Don’t put The Spartans on the list. They hardly ever have top ten recruiting clases but they do ok….gee…is it coaching?!

kybodawg

April 30th, 2014
7:08 pm

Minnesota Dawg

April 30th, 2014
8:12 pm

Come to Minnesota so I can see the Dawgs play!!! Seriously Notre Dame or Florida State would be nice.

HotDawg

April 30th, 2014
9:07 pm

Ark-aub game added to sec network schedule on 8/30.
Tenn game on 8/31 also on network.
In addition to sc-tx am and vandy-temple first weekend.
ya’ll better start checking on getting your provider to add the sec network.

DawgVoiceofReason

April 30th, 2014
9:10 pm

I’d like to see us play Southern Cal – Tailback U vs. Tailback U. Also, just about any of the other traditional football powers outside the SEC. I would have liked to have seen us play Oregon too. Too bad that was cancelled.

DawgVoiceofReason

April 30th, 2014
9:12 pm

If fate had been a little kinder, we would have met Michigan in this year’s bowl game, instead of the fan-unfriendly rematch with Nebraska.

HotDawg

April 30th, 2014
9:19 pm

Play anyone, anywhere, anytime….not afraid of any team.

HotDawg

April 30th, 2014
9:21 pm

DawgVoiceofReason

April 30th, 2014
9:24 pm

I’d also pay good money to see just about anybody knock dawgfan on his keister. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be worth much to see him engaged in a battle of wits, what with him being unarmed and all. Whatever happened, though, he’d be sure to get in his shots at Coach Richt. LOL.

For those new to the blog, dawgfan loathes Coach Richt and isn’t able to post about anything else but that. He’s lost all sense of perspective. You’ll see.

HotDawg

April 30th, 2014
9:25 pm

How about the jax jaguars? They’re not a pro team, are they? Lol

HotDawg

April 30th, 2014
9:26 pm

DVoR….ditto that.

HotDawg

April 30th, 2014
9:29 pm

We’d at least guarrantee a sellout for jaguars with our fans in game in jax!

HotDawg

April 30th, 2014
9:48 pm

I saw us beat steve young and byu in athens. He was flinging it, but we had DB’s that knew how to play back then.
Also, thanks kevin b

HotDawg

April 30th, 2014
9:49 pm

It was a serious bend but don’t break day

Saw Flea Flicker

April 30th, 2014
10:44 pm

@HotDawg I was at BYU game also. Young would either throw or run a draw play. I think we had 4 or 5 interceptions that day and Kevin Butler was big that day as I recall.
@RabunDawg Preston Ridlehuber has always bee my favorite Dawg! Michigan game was 1965, same year we beat Bama with that flea flicker. ^5 was the year Dooley and Company put us back on “The Map.”
I still love them Dogs!

RED DOG 77

May 1st, 2014
1:01 am

Interesting, I would have said Texas or Southern Cal…………I must think like the crowd…………I remember coach Richt’s first few years in Athens……..we were feared all across the SEC as the best road team out there………..We had, as I recall a better than average offense, but a defense that would hit you in the mouth…………I’m holding out hope that coach Pruitt can turn that D around………..coach Richt has always been able to get his players to put the points up……….Defense and special teams will get us the championship we all crave so much………..I thought along with a lot of people I saw an attitude change when Grantham showed up in Athens………it didn’t stick……..with Pruitt on the other hand……….He is full of energy, aggressive, and young and full of himself enough to whip our DAWGS into champions…………2014 is right around the corner!……………GO DAWGS

RED DOG 77

May 1st, 2014
1:10 am

DVR………..As far as knocking dawgnofan on his keister…………Woooaah now that would be a pay-per-view we could all make big bucks on………………I can hear it now…………..”Let’s get ready to Rumble”

mike

May 1st, 2014
7:23 am

Why would anybody want to play Georgia Southern or Kennesaw State in place of GT?

All true dawgs fans know that it is Ga Tech all they way.

If you live and work in Georgia most likely you work with a Tech fan. Or like me live next to one.

It is always SWEET! beating Paul Johnson and those insects every year!

Columbus Dawg

May 1st, 2014
7:26 am

Looks like Pruitt is serious about the S&C Program. Joe T. will have to step it up much if he is to receive blessings from Pruitt, and Pruitt’s blessings will be what he needs to stay in his position. Jeremy Pruitt is being given MUCH power over certain asects of the program. S&C being one of them. I believe that is has been seen that Richt won’t commit to being the hardass, so one had to be brought in.

mike

May 1st, 2014
7:26 am

Joe must be smoking crack or must go to GS or KSU

HotDawg

May 1st, 2014
7:30 am

We also beat ucla in season opener in athens. I remember sitting in rain for awhile at that night game.
Had a return game scheduled at ucla, but it was canceled. Would have enjoyed taking the trip out there.

Me

May 1st, 2014
8:21 am

Bill, I understand what you mean when you state “…(when the Dogs consistently have key players suspended thanks to the school’s tough disciplinary policies).” but why is the blame on UGA and not the players? Do these players not know and understand the policies? If so, is it not them at fault when they break the rules? Would it matter at all how “tough” the rules are if they aren’t broken?
Stop blaming the system and make the players accept the responsibility.

Whining Puppies

May 1st, 2014
9:10 am

When you have to go back to the 60’s (Michigan) and early 80’s (BYU) to discuss big O-O-C wins, that pretty much defines the state of the UGA program.

I-DOG

May 1st, 2014
9:31 am

The answer is:

One cupcake each season. There should never be three, that is ridiculous.

Schedule one big name program like TX, Michigan, Miami, Notre Dame etc… in a home and away and then take a break for two years replacing them with a 2nd cupcake in those off years. Then, schedule a home and away against a lower echelon team from a power conference every season.. Syracuse, Indiana, Duke, Oregon St. etc…

One year it might be Cupcake, Michigan away, Syracuse at home, the next it might be cupcake, Michigan at home, Syracuse away. Then then next two seasons it is two cupcakes followed by Oregon St away the first year and home the 2nd. Then back to a top flight team for two seasons.

Pretty simple

Bill King

May 1st, 2014
10:11 am

To “Me”:
How on earth do you read what I wrote and conclude that I’m blaming UGA and not the players who break the rules? That’s not what I think at all. The players are totally responsible for their actions and must pay the consequences. My point is that, at UGA, those consequences are more severe than at other schools, and as long as that’s the case, it’s likely that the football team will open each season with some key players suspended. Given that, the UGA schedulers ought to try to avoid playing a big game (like, say, Clemson) in the first game of the season in the future. Instead, schedule those big out of conference opponents later in September, in the slot Troy occupies this season (Sept. 20). That’s my point. I’m certainly not excusing the rule-breakers or criticizing Georgia for enforcing the rules.

Bill King

May 1st, 2014
10:19 am

Before we get another commenting meme going here that is not based in fact, let’s note that Mark Richt teams have won big out-of-conference games. His teams have beaten FSU, Purdue, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Hawaii and Texas A&M (before they joined the SEC) and are 1-1 against Boise State, Okie State, Colorado, Michigan State, and Nebraska. They are 2-1 against Clemson.

Bill King

May 1st, 2014
10:22 am

To Mike:

Dan was joking about alternating Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. It was meant as a putdown for Tech.

dawgfan

May 1st, 2014
11:40 am

Bill, before we get on a big commenting meme that is not based in fact, let’s note the following:

2002 FSU was 9-5.

2003 Purdue was 9-4.

2004 Wisconsin was 9-3.

2005 Boise State was 9-4.

2006 Colorodo was 2-10.

2007 Okie State was 7-6.

2008 Michigan State was 9-4.

2009 Texas A&M was 6-7.

I would hardly call those “big” wins Bill. We’re all entitled to our opinions.

Yours is no better than mine.

USC Jimi

May 1st, 2014
1:22 pm

Georgia has, in fact, played more games against teams from other power conferences in recent seasons than any other SEC school.

Bill, What are the numbers on this? I know that South Carolina has played a bunch in recent years. Played two ACC schools and Central Florida last year and eat all three!

Me

May 1st, 2014
2:01 pm

I’m sorry, Bill, but when you state “suspended thanks to the school’s tough disciplinary policies” it sounds different than stating “suspended thanks to the players breaking the rules”.

Me

May 1st, 2014
2:03 pm

And my other point is if the players didn’t break the rules then the severity or the consequences never enter into the equation. I fail to see how you lump that in with a “meme not based in fact”.

ringthebell

May 1st, 2014
2:16 pm

Play the marquee game the down year like 2015,then play the away game when the SEC home schedule is better. Play anybody that you can get.

NoAxeToGrind

May 1st, 2014
2:41 pm

FSU’s starting QB did not play in the Sugar Bowl when Richt beat Papa Bowden, if memory serves. Suspended for academic reasons? Richt lost to WV in his second BCS Sugar bowl appearance, again, if memory serves. To call Hawaii a major footbll power is a joke. Last BCS bowl was 2007 against major power Hawaii. None since. A lot of the others are not any big deal either…..Colorado for example.

DawginColorado

May 1st, 2014
3:10 pm

The matchup I’d pay big money to see is NOT dawgfan and Mark Richt one on one. Yeah, it’d be great to see NOT dawgfan tell Richt to his face that he is lazy and doesn’t work hard enough. After he swallowed his tongue and a big puddle formed around his feet after he found out how not-so-nice Coach Richt is when people question his integrity, he’d slink away like the coward that he truly is. That would make my century.

It’d be even better if it was recorded so I could watch it whenever I wanted to.