ATHENS — The SEC released its full 2020 college football schedule on Monday via the SEC Network, sending fans and players into a buzz.
Georgia football will play what has been billed by many as the biggest regular-season game of the season at Alabama on Oct. 17.
This will be Georgia’s first trip to play Alabama in Tuscaloosa since 2007, when former UGA quarterback Matthew Stafford led the Bulldogs to a 26-23 overtime victory.
The Crimson Tide has won the past five meetings against Georgia, including two since Kirby Smart has been head coach by counts of 26-23 (OT) and 35-28, both in the postseason.
Georgia learned earlier on Monday it would open the season on the road at Arkansas on Sept. 26 in Fayetteville. It’s the same start date for all 14 SEC football programs.
Related: Georgia football to open 2020 schedule against Arkansas
Georgia football 2020 schedule
• Sept. 26 Georgia at Arkansas
• Oct. 3 Auburn at Georgia
• Oct. 10 Tennessee at Georgia
• Oct. 17 Georgia at Alabama
• Oct. 24 Georgia at Kentucky
• Oct. 31 No Game
• Nov. 7 Florida vs. Georgia
• Nov. 14 Georgia at Missouri
• Nov. 21 Mississippi State at Georgia
• Nov. 28 Georgia at South Carolina
• Dec. 5 Vanderbilt at Georgia
• Dec. 19 SEC Championship Game, Atlanta
“It’s another step in the journey,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said after the schedule was released.
“We have to continue to make progress, people have to stay healthy, we have to be able tok eep our teams focused on practice.”
RELATED: Georgia players discuss season start, Arkansas first opponent
The Bulldogs play what are arguably the top two teams in the West Division in the form of the Tide and rival Auburn Tigers.
Auburn and Tennessee promise to be physical games leading into the Alabama game for Georgia, something UGA fans will take note of.
The annual rivalry game with Florida — designated as Georgia’s home game this season — will take place a week later than previously scheduled on Nov. 7.
For now, it remains scheduled for Jacksonville despite COVID-19 travel challenges
Arkansas and Mississippi State, two teams projected to finish at or near the bottom of the West Division, were added to UGA’s schedule by the SEC on Aug. 7.
SEC teams have traditionally played an eight-game league schedule with four non-conference games, but the SEC opted for a 10-game, conference-only schedule amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league cited more flexibility in the scheduling, should games need to be postponed or cancelled. The league-only slate also offers the assurance of uniform testing and protocol policies between the teams competing.
“We made every effort to create a schedule that is as competitive as possible and builds on the existing eight Conference games that had already been scheduled for 2020,” Sankey said about the cross-division games.
“This schedule is a one-year anomaly that we have developed under unique circumstances presented by the impact of COVID-19.”
Missouri has an open date before it plays Georgia
Open dates can prove significant. The Bulldogs were reminded of that last season when South Carolina pulled off a 20-17 overtime upset in Sanford Stadium.
The Gamecocks were one of five Georgia opponents last season that had an open date the week before they played the Bulldogs.
Georgia’s open date this season comes before it plays Florida. The Gators are also off the week before the rivalry matchup.
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