ATHENS — The 2020 Georgia football schedule is out, and as expected the Bulldogs will see some big changes.
It was already expected to be a challenging season, with several UGA underclassmen expected to turn pro after the 2019 campaign.
But things could be even tougher with Georgia playing three games in 13 days to open the season, leading into a Sept. 19 showdown with Alabama.
The Bulldogs battle with the Tide is sure to attract national attention.
But from a traditional standpoint, Bulldogs fans will take note of the game dates for Auburn and Tennessee.
Georgia agreed to move up their traditional battle with the Tigers from November to October — it will be at Sanford Stadium next season on Oct. 10.
The move required the annual meeting with the Vols to be moved back into November, as that will take place the second week, on Nov. 14.
Tennessee agreed with the move, as it allowed the Vols to split up their rivalry games with Florida and UGA.
Some Georgia fans took exception to the move, but it was a schedule change advocated and approved by head coach Kirby Smart.
Smart said last year he wanted to avoid playing rivals Auburn and Georgia Tech in back-to-back road games in November.
“I feel like if we could fix it, it would help to not have two road games back to back for us,” Smart said at SEC Spring Meetings in 2018. “Like the situation we had (in 2017) with the Auburn and Georgia Tech games back to back.”
The feeling at Georgia was that the SEC league office owed the Bulldogs consecutive home games.
UGA played at Auburn in consecutive years in 2012 and 2013 to help the SEC scheduling when Missouri and Texas A&M were added to the league.
The balanced nature of the schedule prevented the Bulldogs from getting the payback they desired, and Smart clearly decided moving the Auburn game was the next best thing.
Nicknamed “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry,” the Georgia-Auburn regular-season game had been played in November dating back to an October meeting in 1936.
Smart and other league coaches have an opportunity to review the schedule before the league finalizes it.
Georgia AD Greg McGarity indicated Georgia’s fourth-year head coach had no issues with it.
“Every school advocates for their own desires,” McGarity told DawgNation last season. “You get in a room and if there are certain things you want to discuss about moving or changing, there are 14 athletic directors that do that. Everybody advocates for their own.”
One of Georgia’s requests was for an open date before the Florida game, and the schedule indicates that was granted.
The Gators, it’s worth noting, also have an open date before the annual rivalry clash in Jacksonville on Oct. 31. The Georgia-Florida game is contracted to remain in Jacksonville through 2021.
The Bulldogs will open the season in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta against Virginia on a Monday night, Sept. 7.
That means the Bulldogs will be playing three games in 13 days, with a home game against East Tennessee State on Sept. 12 before the trip to Tuscaloosa to face the Tide on Sept. 19.
Alabama opens the season on Saturday, Sept. 5, against Southern Cal in Dallas before a home date with Georgia State on Sept. 12.
2020 Georgia football schedule
(home games in boldface type)
Sept. 7: (Mon.) Virginia (Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, Atlanta)
Sept. 12: EAST TENNESSEE STATE
Sept. 19 at Alabama
Sept. 26 UL-MONROE
Oct. 3 VANDERBILT
Oct. 10 AUBURN
Oct. 17 at Missouri
Oct. 24 Open Date
Oct. 31 Florida (Jacksonville)
Nov. 7 at South Carolina
Nov. 14 TENNESSEE
Nov. 21 at Kentucky
Nov. 28 GEORGIA TECH