Georgia coach Kirby Smart has recently pushed UGA to beef up its non-conference scheduling. This is fun for fans, and great for the sport. However, if the rest of the country follows the Bulldogs’ lead then the College Football Playoff selection committee will probably need to alter its thinking.
That’s the subject of this edition of DN90.
Former Georgia quarterback David Greene made that point this week on DawgNation Daily.
The Bulldogs have recently added multiple home-and-home series with Clemson, one with Texas and one with Florida State. In some upcoming years, UGA is slated to play multiple major Power Five non-conference games in addition to its yearly rivalry with Georgia Tech and its regular SEC schedule. That’s a lineup of games that’s currently unprecedented.
David’s concern is the committee might not fully reward UGA for its scheduling bravery despite the fact it pays lip service to how much it values schedule strength. The evidence is on David’s side.
College football stats guru Bill Connelly tabulates a modern version of schedule strength for his S&P+ rankings. Had schedule strength been a factor for the CFP committee last season, it stands to reason UGA would’ve been included in the Playoff.
The Bulldogs were No. 9 in Connelly’s schedule strengh ranking last year.
However, Georgia was left out of the Playoff for programs that — at least according to one metric — played far weaker schedules. Notre Dame was No. 55 in S&P+ schedule strength. Oklahoma was 61st. Clemson was 63rd.
It seems the deciding factor in making the Playoff isn’t a team’s strength of schedule as much as its record. Clemson and Notre Dame were undefeated in the regular season. Oklahoma had one loss.
UGA — and its two losses — was apparently a bridge too far for the committee.
What happens in the future when the Bulldogs are playing an even tougher schedule? It seems fair to ask.
Hopefully, the rest of the sport will join Georgia in ushering in a new age of scheduling. Fans don’t want to pay high ticket prices to watch uncompetitive games. As that scheduling evolution occurs, hopefully future versions of the CFP committee will evolve as well.
Big wins in competitive games — even when coupled with the occasional loss — should be viewed as superior to undefeated records against mediocre competition.
For more on what former UGA quarterback David Greene had to say about the future of non-conference scheduling, click the video linked above.