College football fans have likely noticed Georgia’s impressive run of new non-conference games that have been set over the next decade or so. Quite frankly, the Bulldogs are going for it.
On top of the annual Georgia Tech rivalry series, Georgia hosts Notre Dame this year. Things aren’t too crazy over the next few, per FB Schedules, with Virginia coming to Atlanta in 2020 and no second Power Five set for 2021 at the moment.
After that, though, the Dawgs are ramping things up in a big way. There are some years, like 2028, where Georgia will face three Power Five teams in the non-conference.
Starting in 2022, Georgia has games scheduled against Oregon, Oklahoma, Clemson, UCLA, Florida State, and Texas.
The Oklahoman‘s Jenni Carlson spoke to Georgia’s athletic director about the upcoming games between the Bulldogs and Sooners, and potential College Football Playoff expansion is clearly a consideration.
When the CFP launched, schedule strength was thought to be much more important than it has proven to be. Most years, the top four have been pretty clear, with the first season—2014, when Ohio State edged out Baylor and TCU—being a distinct outlier.
If the playoff goes from four to eight teams, though, the fields will look much different. With more room for error, and more parsing of resumes, those top-line schedules could be a big help to a two-loss Georgia team.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity acknowledged as much in speaking to Carlson, an interesting admission:
He mentioned fans not wanting to see “guarantee games,” non-conference contests where the payout to the woeful opponent is guaranteed and the victory to the powerhouse team is assured, too. But he said those games are necessary because big-time programs don’t want to play a Power 5 team every week.
“A couple years, we’re playing 11 out of 12,” McGarity said. “We’re kind of anticipating the growth from four to eight.”
The growth he referenced nonchalantly is the number of teams in the College Football Playoff. Even as playoff executives and university leaders continue to say talk of expansion is premature — the current contract for a four-team playoff runs through the end of 2025 season — McGarity is among a growing group of athletic directors whose actions are anything but nonchalant. They are not-so-subtly indicating change is coming.
He also acknowledged the desire to play “iconic brands,” which is also where a series like Oklahoma comes in. The Sooners are also an annual playoff contender, and have one fewer non-conference spot to play with, so the Georgia game could provide similar benefits to them.
If McGarity is right, we may see similar scheduling from other schools over the next few years, which fans should welcome.