Could Georgia be Leading Power 5 Schools Towards Stronger Scheduling?
If you've ever listened to the "Review"---our OSG Sports College Football weekly podcast, you've likely heard us talking ad nauseam about poor scheduling by the biggest of the Power Five Schools.
Every year it seems teams like Alabama schedule what can only be called "Cupcake" games in their non-conference scheduling.
Take for example the 2018 National Runner Up Alabama Crimson Tide who played what can only be described as a laughable slew of non-conference games.
Arkansas State, Louisiana (Lafayette) and the Citadel were among the highlights. Credit is given for the opener vs. Louisville because the Cardinals had not yet turned to complete mush before the season started.
The National Champions, the Clemson Tigers weren't quite as guilty. They only played 2 "Cupcakes"---Furman and Georgia Southern (both easy wins).
I could go on and on about the horrific matchups, games which the visiting "Group of 5" team has an absolute ZERO percent chance of winning because it has been going on forever.
But the point of this story is to show at least one program is looking for ways to change it.
The Georgia Bulldogs have committed to try schedule Three "Power 5" opponents for the foreseeable future. Yes, that's right, not a Group of 5 team, but the teams in conferences at least trying to keep up with the SEC.
It's not a finalized thing by any stretch of the imagination---but over the past few months, the Dawgs have positioned themselves with home and home series vs. Oregon, UCLA, Texas, Florida State and Clemson. And much to brother Wilkie's chagrin, we're talking a good 14-years out---through 2033.
Really if you think about it, the whole thing makes some sense. We've heard coaches (Nick Saban) begin to gripe about students and others not turning out for "Cupcake" games and that impacts the bottom line. I mean, if I'm a student and I've got something else I need to do or was out late the night before---why drag yourself out of bed to tailgate and go to a 12 or 12:30 kickoff and then sit in the hot Southern Sun for 4 hours to see a game where it's essentially a guarantee your team will win.
I know full well there have been exceptions. Georgia Southern beat Florida several years ago, Alabama nearly lost to a couple of "Cupcakes" and we all remember Appalachian State beating Michigan seemingly a generation ago.
But those are the exceptions rather than the rule....
It's incredibly hard for a program with a budget that doesn't even approach what a Power 5 program gets in TV money to compete on the same level (it's the reason the Power 5 and Group of 5 should split). In some cases---the starters can come close--but it is the depth and size that make all of the difference.
The Georgia's, Clemson's, Alabama's and Ohio State's of the world should be playing teams that can compete on their level every year. I know full well getting a paycheck for the smaller schools is the reason for the games---but they don't really help anyone.
Maybe this will finally lead to what I've been arguing for over the past few years. Maybe it will finally lead to the unfortunate but needed break. College Football in the current era is in large part a big business dealing in 10's of Millions of dollars and sometimes more.
There is no legitimate reason to a big program to subject its fans to a lower level team. None. It doesn't matter what Nick Saban or any other coach whines about it, he is or should be smart enough to know fans aren't going to pack the house for what is essentially a scrimmage in mid season.
Good on Kirby Smart. At least he appears to see the bigger picture. He seems to realize its what the fans want to see and yeah, he has an ulterior motive too. He seems to understand a tough schedule can help on the recruiting trail too.
And that matters. A lot.....