Alabama gets jump on Georgia if SEC chooses conference-plus one schedule model
ATHENS — Georgia would travel to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama in its season-opening game on Sept. 19 under more than one SEC scheduling scenario under consideration.
Nothing new there.
The twist is the Tide would have already played a game before Sept. 19 in the model involving SEC teams playing a conference schedule plus only one non-conference opponent.
The Bulldogs’ season-opening game with Virginia would fall by the wayside in that scenario.
Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl President and CEO and Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic organizer, brought out that possibility during his radio interviews in Alabama last week.
Bulldogs AD Greg McGarity has indicated UGA wants to keep its old rivalry with Georgia Tech going if possible.
So Georgia Tech would be the non-conference opponent Georgia would choose if only one non-conference game can be preserved.
Stokan, meanwhile, is scrambling for potential answers should the SEC’s scheduling model leave him without Georgia and Florida State as potential kickoff classic teams.
As things stand, Florida State is supposed to open with West Virginia on Saturday, Sept. 5 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
If the ACC adapts a schedule consisting of conference games plus one non-conference game, the Seminoles would use their non-conference game to maintain their rivalry with Florida.
“In that case, we would take Virginia and West Virginia together on Monday night to play in the kickoff game,” Stokan said on WNSP 105.5 FM, per AL.com.
It’s important to note nothing has been determined at this time.
As of now, the Georgia-Virginia football game remains scheduled for that Monday night, Sept. 7 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
But Stoken — and Georgia — need to be considering provisional plans.
Alabama has had to scramble for a new opening game opponent after the Pac-12 followed the Big Ten’s lead last week and opted for a conference-only schedule.
The Trojans were scheduled to meet the Crimson Tide in Arlington, Texas, in both team’s season-opening game on Sept. 5.
Brigham Young has emerged as a possible opening game opponent for Alabama, per reports in Alabama and Utah.
The Cougars, like the Tide, were originally scheduled to play a Pac-12 opponent (Utah) in their opener.
McGarity said it’s “too early to tell” what direction the SEC schedule will go.
Commissioner Greg Sankey has held true to his word where it comes to waiting as long as possible in an effort to make the most informed decision.