Georgia Football: Is Scheduling More Big Name Opponents a Good Idea?


Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity is pursing some big name matchups for the Georgia football team. But are more top-tier opponents good for the team and the program?

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With a marquee match up against Notre Dame and a season opener against North Carolina on the books, Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity is seeking other big opponents for the Georgia football team

“We’d love to schedule out further in the 20s and have locations where our fans would love to see teams play here that traditionally don’t and go to venues away from Sanford Stadium that are regarded as the memorable, iconic stadiums,” McGarity told Anthony Dasher of “I think it will be a good thing.”

Is big game scheduling really about what is good for fans or players? Or is the football team, the most iconic component of the University of Georgia, being used as a battering ram to further the University’s larger mission through high profile, high publicity contests?

No one seems to be asking if more top tier opponents beyond eight SEC teams and Georgia Tech is good for the team and the players. With nine big games locked down for each year, at some point the difficulty of the schedule outweighs the benefit for the school and the program.

No one seems too concerned, yet.

Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph reported McGarity comments. “I ask staff, I ask friends, I ask donors, if you had two or three places where would you like to go? And they’ve aligned with what I think. So that’s what we’re trying to do, is do some experiences not only for our fans but our students.”

But how many of the Bulldog Nation will have an opportunity to actually see the inside of Notre Dame Stadium and cheer on the Bulldogs? Will the benefit to a few Bulldog fans outweigh the stress another big game puts on the program?

Dec 27, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive end Leonard Williams (94) and quarterback Cody Kessler (6) pose with the Spirit of Troy marching band director Arthur Banter after the 2014 Holiday Bowl against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Qualcomm Stadium. USC won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Again, no one seems too worried. In fact, the suggestion of future games against Southern California, UCLA, and Penn State were met with enthusiasm by McGarity.

“I think Penn State would be a great matchup,” McGarity said according to Seth Emerson and the Macon Telegraph. “You’re thinking like I’m thinking. Those are the type of venues that we’d love to play in. You mentioned three, and those are three that I would agree with you on. You’ve got the Coliseum, the Rose Bowl and Happy Valley. I think for our fans, that’d be pretty neat. So that’s the type of iconic things that we’re talking about doing.”

How many Georgia fans will get to visit Happy Valley and enjoy the view from the Penn State version of the “Tech Deck” in return for the nation’s eyeballs the day of – and the weeks leading up to  – the “big game.”

For better or worse, these big name games are going to happen.

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