Top 5 non-conference games UGA needs to add

This week, UGA’s Kirby Smart stressed the importance of scheduling strong non-conference opponents in the opener.

Georgia Football head coach Kirby Smart is not foreign to starting off a season with a bang. During his nine years as an assistant at the University of Alabama, the Crimson Tide made a habit of playing tough opponents out of conference in the first game.

In fact, Kirby Smart told Marc Weiszer of Dog Bytes Online,

“It’s important to me that you play a good non-conference opponent outside of (Georgia) Tech. I think that helps you. When you get to do that, I think it helps your program when you open with a really good team. I’m always in favor of playing somebody (like that) opening. We won’t get a chance to do that every year, we won’t get the venue, but when we get the opportunity, I’m excited to do it.”

With that being said, it’s never to early to look ahead and dream of some big time matchups that UGA could play in the future. Games like these can not only increase your strength of schedule but can also bolster your CFB Playoff selection chances, help recruiting and provide more exposure for your program.

Georgia is already playing  home-and-home series with Notre Dame in 2017 and 2019 and UCLA in the future. Outside of those games, here are the five non-conference games we’d love to see Georgia Football play.

Georgia at Michigan

Nov 7, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Jehu Chesson (86) celebrates his touchdown in the first quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

A Georgia-Michigan game in the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich., would be awesome. It would obviously be aesthetically appealing and most likely a must-watch game based on the upward trajectory of these two teams under Kirby Smart and Jim Harbaugh respectively.

A meeting of these two teams would make sense for several reasons. First, it’s always good to see a big-time SEC vs. Big Ten matchup as there is definitely a rivalry that exists between the conferences. Also, this matchup would almost certainly get a national television audience and give the Georgia program further exposure.

It would also help recruiting and make a footprint in Big Ten country for the Bulldogs. Georgia has not gotten a lot of guys from this part of the country. This game would not only be a fun one to watch but would serve a purpose. It would make more sense from Jim Harbaugh’s viewpoint to make this a home-and-home. Hopefully, this happens.

Georgia vs. Texas

Sep 19, 2015; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Jerrod Heard (13) and the Texas offense react against the California Golden Bears during the first quarter at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Texas has not been the same in recent years, but they are one of the most storied programs in college football. They are one big decision away from being back where they belong as a national contender.

Georgia should play Texas in the annual Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas. The biggest reason is for recruiting. Texas is one of the most fertile recruiting states in the nation, and UT is one of the most recognized brands in the country. Georgia would be in the spotlight and have an opportunity to open the eyes of recruits in the state.

There are also a lot of Bulldog fans in nearby Dallas, and that would be another reason for the Dawgs to play there. Let’s hope Kirby gets the memo.

Georgia at Southern California

Oct 24, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; The Southern California Trojans run out onto the field prior to the game against the Utah Utes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

This is one of the most attractive games UGA fans could dream of. Georgia versus Southern California on a primetime stage in the LA Coliseum in Los Angeles, Calif. Southern Cal a.k.a. the real USC is has one of the winningest programs in all of college football.

The Trojans are on the up and up after the loss of scholarships and other punishment handed down for NCAA violations the program committed during the Pete Carroll days. Speaking of Carroll, the Trojans were absolutely dominant under his leadership in the early 2000s as they won two national titles and had three Heisman Trophy winners during those years.

After dealing with the consequences of the allegations committed and a couple of coaches being let go, the Trojans seem to be on the verge of where they once were not so long ago. Georgia-USC would be an intriguing matchup and give the Dawgs a chance to make their mark on the West Coast.

Georgia at Miami

Oct 17, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes players take the field before playing against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

This one seems pretty obvious. Miami has had a ton of success albeit not recently, but the program made the right decision in hiring Mark Richt after he was let go by UGA. Richt will help stabilize the program that has gone through rough times under Al Golden and struggled with past NCAA restrictions. Many people also hope and believe that Richt can bring Miami back into being the Miami of old except maybe a G-rated version.

A game in Miami would make a ton of sense for Georgia as they would be playing one of the biggest name schools in the country and be playing it in an area which is known for being a breeding ground of top football talent. Kirby Smart would be very wise to schedule this game.

Georgia vs. Florida State

Nov 14, 2015; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) celebrates a touchdown with offensive lineman Alec Eberle (54) and offensive lineman Chad Mavety (55) during the second half of the game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

This game is one that should’ve been played in the regular season long ago. After all, FSU is located in the southeastern region of the United States and is one of the top programs in college football today. Jimbo Fisher followed legendary coach Bobby Bowden and has not skipped a beat, winning the national championship in 2013.

This game would serve as a big stage for the Bulldogs to play on and definitely increase the resume of whichever season they play the Seminoles in. Many have been calling for this game for a long time, and I, for one, hope it gets scheduled whether it be a home-and-home, in the Chick-fil-a Kickoff Game or the new Camping World Kickoff in Orlando, Fla.

Ultimately, it is a great thing that Kirby Smart is in favor of scheduling big non-conference games. It is not only enjoyable to watch as a fan but in addition, gives the program opportunities like exposure and recruiting attention that they would not have otherwise had. Let’s hope Smart gets UGA AD Greg McGarity on board, and he takes the steps necessary to make some of these games a reality.