Changes will be coming to the SEC schedule as Texas and Oklahoma join the league at the start of the 2024 season.
And while there has been much debate as to whether the league will go to an 8-game or 9-game schedule, Georgia coach Kirby Smart is fine with either model.
“I can go either way on that,” Smart said while speaking to reporters at Regions Pro-Am golf tournament in Hoover, Alabama. “I think either format’s going to allow us to go through the cycle and through the SEC much faster. So there won’t be a four-year window that you don’t play everybody home and away either way.”
The two models that have been debated are an 8-game model and a 9-game model. The 8-game schedule would leave Georgia with one permanent opponent, which would be Florida. The other seven schools would be rotated so that Georgia would be play at every SEC school over a four-year window.
In the 9-game model, Georgia would keep three permanent foes and rotate between six other schools. It is believed that Florida, Auburn and Kentucky would be the three permanent teams on Georgia’s 9-game schedule.
The Big Ten, PAC-12 and Big 12 all play 9-game conference schedules, while the ACC and SEC both have 8-game formats. The SEC and Big Ten are the only two leagues that have divisions still, but those will be dropped when the Longhorns and Sooners join the league.
As far as when an official decision on scheduling models gets made, the SEC presidents and athletic directors will meet later this month in Destin, Fla. at the SEC spring meetings.
Georgia has won the SEC East five times under Smart and the SEC twice. At the end of the day, Smart cares far more about getting back to Atlanta every year than rather or not Georgia will continue to play Auburn on an annual basis.
“I think people are looking for something to debate about, but if you’re going to play everybody in the SEC in four years home and away, the two methodologies we’re going about are not that vastly different,” Smart said.
The College Football Playoff will be expanding to 12 teams starting in the 2024 season. Georgia has future non-conference games set against Clemson, UCLA, Louisville, Florida State and Ohio State, as well as the annual game against Georgia Tech. The SEC will also begin its new contract with ESPN starting in the 2024 season. If the league is able to get more money from ESPN, that could incline the league to push for the 9-game model.
From the SEC West this season, Georgia will visit Auburn on Sept. 30 and host Ole Miss on Nov. 11. The Bulldogs open the 2023 season on Sept. 2, when they take on UT-Martin.
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