ATHENS — Georgia football hasn’t taken the first snap of its annual spring game, much less the 2024 season.

And yet, controversy — and a degree of confusion — has sprung up over the recently released the 2025 SEC schedule of opponents.

SEC leadership, no doubt after conferring with member schools, has elected for teams to keep the same league opponents and flip home and away.

One league source declared it the cleanest and fairest way of moving forward.

True enough, though keeping the same opponents is in stark contrast to the previous league messaging on future schedule models, which seemed to put a priority on playing a wider variety of opponents.

The bigger debate back then was over whether the league should play an eight- or nine-game schedule, with two models emerging — 1-7 and 3-6 — that would drastically change up opponents from year to year.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart had said he was fine with either because “either format is going to allow us to go through the cycle and through the SEC much faster,” than the previous divisional models that featured only one rotating opponent each season.

The idea, Smart noted, was “to play everybody in the SEC in four years home and away … "

Georgia officials have given no indication there is any concern over the degree of perceived schedule difficulty the Bulldogs face in 2025, noting how liberal transfer rules have led to rosters experiencing significant turnover from year to the next.

That said, Georgia faces one of the toughest schedules in the nation this season based on ESPN’s “SP+” formula, which factors returning production, recent recruiting and recent program success.

Per the ESPN formula, Georgia plays five teams ranked in the Top 16 next season — including four SEC teams ranked in the Top 15:

• No. 4 Texas (Austin, Oct. 19)

• No. 6 Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Sept. 28)

• No. 8 Ole Miss (Oxford, Nov. 9)

• No. 15 Tennessee (Athens, Nov. 16)

• No. 16 Clemson (Atlanta, Aug. 31)

Playing Texas, Alabama, Ole Miss and Kentucky in Sanford Stadium in 2025 does make for an attractive home schedule — a positive among season ticket holders.

Other than the Wildcats, who figure to return Brock Vandagriff as starting QB, there’s a good chance the Longhorns, Tide and Rebels will all have new starting quarterbacks.

Georgia will, too, with 2024 starter Carson Beck a projected first-round NFL draft pick after this season.

For all the pending lineup changes — and perhaps even coaching changes, too — it’s hard not to get too far ahead looking at the ramifications of the teams’ repeating their SEC schedules.

After all, there’s much at stake with college football shifting into a 12-team playoff this season, with a 14-team playoff on the horizon and the possibility of more conference expansion ahead.