I’m 53. (Note graying hair in otherwise flattering photo above.) I’ve followed sports since 1968. I’ve worked for newspapers since Jan. 8, 1978. I have, in sum, been around. But I’m about to quote for you a sentence I have never before seen written:
“Georgia’s non-conference schedule is the best in the nation.”
The writer: The extremely perceptive Matt Hayes. The publication: The always delightful Sporting News Today. The source: A breakdown of SEC teams’ non-conference regimens.
Georgia, as you doubtless know, plays four non-conference games: At Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech, with Arizona State and Tennessee Tech at home. By any measure, that’s a testing slate. (Contrast it with Florida’s: Apart from playing Florida State, the fearless Gators take on Charleston Southern, Florida International and Troy — all in The Swamp.)
But by Georgia’s standards, these four games constitute Murderer’s Row. (Yeah, I know Arizona State was a crashing dud a year ago, and Tennessee Tech, which was 3-9 last season and is based in the Ohio Valley Conference, isn’t to be confused with Tennessee-Kiffin.) It wasn’t so long ago we ripped the Bulldogs for never taking a risk, but venturing to Stillwater — as was traveling to Tempe last season — is risky business.
Kudos (as we say on Facebook) to Damon Evans for daring to dare. And no more griping from Mark Richt about the degree of difficulty. As that famous football player Lou Reed once said: “Hey, babe. Take a walk on the wild side.”