Georgia's future football schedules still 'on hold'

semerson@macon.comApril 22, 2013 

ATHENS - There's been little news on the scheduling front lately for Georgia football: Non-conference, SEC, all of it has been in a waiting period for nearly a year now.

Greg McGarity is hoping the waiting period is about to expire.

First, the SEC: The conference is only scheduled through the 2013 season, but McGarity said the hope is to have a scheduling plan for 2014-17 approved at the SEC meetings in Destin in early June.

Georgia can't really do anything in its non-conference scheduling until it knows the dates and opponents for its SEC games over the next few years.

"We are basically on hold until we receive the SEC schedule for '14 and beyond," McGarity said. "Because hopefully that will have dates, and obviously opponents. So that we can start to plug in our (non-conference) opponents."

And yes, it would be an eight-game schedule that will be approved in Destin.

There hasn't been that much discussion about a nine-game schedule, according to McGarity, but it's not something to rule out. It depends in large part on what comes out of the football playoff meetings.

"We continue to be educated on what the definition of strength of schedule means," McGarity said. "What are other conferences doing in that regard. So there's a lot of things to really discuss if we do go to a nine-game model. But we have not talked about that other than just in theory, to see what some models of that would look like."

Georgia's non-conference schedule for 2014 is set: A home opener against Clemson, the annual regular-season finale against Georgia Tech, and November home games against South Alabama and Charleston Southern.

Georgia also has three non-conference contracts for the 2015 season (home against Southern and Louisiana-Monroe, at Georgia Tech) and two for 2016 (home against Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech.)

But after that, other than the Georgia Tech game, nothing is set. Incidentally, the annual Georgia Tech game would not be in jeopardy even if the SEC went to a nine-game schedule.

"We'd still play Tech," McGarity said. "That's what you have to analyze, how you would schedule those other two games."

McGarity didn't say it, but all expectations are Georgia would then want to schedule two home games, i.e. guarantee games. But that doesn't appear to be an immediate issue, unless the SEC reverses course on a nine-game schedule. So a higher-profile opponent remains possible for the next few years. On that front:

- Georgia and Florida State have had what appear to be informal, preliminary talks about playing each other. McGarity said it's just been in generalities, with nothing in writing.

"I'm sure they would like to put our two institutions together at some point in time," McGarity said, indicating that a neutral-site game could be eyeing the matchup. "But it all goes back to what does our conference model look like, and it's just too early to even have any kind of legitimate discussion on that, because we don't know where we are as a conference right now."

- Don't look for Georgia and Ohio State to reignite discussions over a series. The two were set to have a home-and-home in 2020-21, but Ohio State canceled that last year when the Big Ten decided to go to nine games. After initially deciding to return to an eight-game schedule, the Big Ten is back to a nine-game plan.

"I don't think there's any chance of that occurring, moving forward," McGarity said.

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