The rest of college football needs to try and match Kirby Smart’s scheduling efforts
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Kirby Smart sets the future of Georgia football with more scheduling
The 2018 season was a bad non-conference schedule for Georgia football. The Bulldogs played Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee State, UMass and a run of the mill Georgia Tech team. It ended up not making a difference but had Georgia had a win against another high-level Power Five opponent on its schedule, maybe it would’ve leapfrogged Oklahoma and still made it into the College Football Playoff.
That poor non-conference schedule in 2018 wasn’t Smart’s fault, given college football schedules seem to be set a decade in advance. The Bulldogs, for example, added games this week against Clemson that won’t be played until the 2032 and ’33 seasons. We’ll probably be getting ready to see “Avengers 9” by that point.
But Smart is trying to change the way college football scheduling is done, at least among the elites. Gone are the days where you would play an FCS foe, a few group of five teams and one rival that qualifies as a Power Five opponent. In the past year alone, Smart and Georgia have added games against the following Power Five opponents: Clemson, Oregon, Texas and Florida State.
That’s to go along with future games set against Notre Dame, UCLA and Virginia. And there have been reports of adding another home and home with Oklahoma as well. As of right now, Georgia will play at least two Power Five opponents in every season from now until 2033 with the exception of 2021, 2023 and 2031.
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) April 3, 2019
The reason why is Smart is looking out for the future of Georgia football, even if he can’t guarantee his own. Smart said great non-conference games will help in terms of getting into future College Football Playoffs and attracting better players.
“I’m thinking that to get in the Playoffs, as the future goes, I don’t know if it will ever expand it, that’s not for me to even kind of divulge on, but I do think that you’re going to need a quality of schedule to do that. I think that there is going to be two-loss teams in the future, if they’ve got a really tough schedule—they are going to make that,” Smart said at his press conference on Tuesday.
In 2017, Auburn would’ve made the College Football Playoff if it had beaten Georgia in the SEC title game, in part because the Tigers’ second loss was against an elite Clemson team.
And with almost everything within the Georgia program, Smart believes a more impressive schedule will impact recruiting.
“I want to have the best players, I want to play the best teams. Kids come to this college to play big games,” Smart said. “They do not come to play, I would never name anybody, but they don’t come to play anybody they haven’t seen before. They want to play the best teams, so we want to go schedule the best teams.”
Some have raised concerns Georgia’s schedule might be too tough in certain years. In the 2028 season, Georgia is set to play Florida State and Georgia Tech at home, and visit Texas. In 2029, the Bulldogs host Texas and visit Clemson and Georgia Tech. That’s back-to-back years with three Power five programs.
And yet, Smart seems very comfortable with the idea of this happening.
“We thought three Power Five opponents, non-conference opponents would be, not ground-breaking, but we thought it would be a new thing,” Smart said. “We’re not afraid of that.”
Bear in mind we’ve also seen these long-awaited games get canceled before, as was the case with a once-scheduled Georgia-Ohio State series. It’s also worth mentioning the College Football Playoff contract is set to expire after the 2025 season. That means all college football schedules could be reset.
Even with his aggressive scheduling policy, Smart admits he can’t think about Georgia’s future that far in advance. By the time the first Florida State game rolls around, Smart would be in his 12th season at Georgia. The only current SEC coach who has been at his school for that long is Nick Saban.
But his actions in the short-term show Smart is thinking about how to make the Georgia football product better. The sport is better and fans are happier when it has games like Georgia-Notre Dame instead of Georgia-Austin Peay.
“We also want our fan base to get potentially what might be seven consecutive home games, non-conference Power Five opponents,” Smart said. “We’re trying to get that lined up for them, and play some good rivalries.”
Georgia baseball beats Kennesaw State ahead of a big weekend series with Vanderbilt
A night after beating Clemson on the road, Georgia baseball picked up another road win. The Bulldogs took down Kennesaw State on Wednesday, as they beat the in-state Owls 7-6. Georgia is now 25-5 on the season, its best start since the 2009 season.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning, but the Owls were able to rally back to tie it at 4. Georgia reclaimed the lead in the top of the fifth thanks to a two-out double by Chaney Rogers that plated LJ Talley. The Bulldogs added two more runs in the top of the sixth inning to give themselves some necessary breathing room.
The Owls added a run in the bottom of the sixth and another in the bottom of the eighth to make it 7-6. But Zac Kristofak came in to earn the save in the ninth. Adam Goodman also picked up the win for Georgia, as he struck out 4 batters in 2.1 innings of work.
“We took advantage of some of Kennesaw State’s mistakes but credit them for coming back,” Georgia baseball coach Scott Stricklin said. “Now, we’ve got to get ready for a weekend series with Vanderbilt, and we’re looking forward to playing at home again and having three great crowds like we did for the LSU series.”
The Bulldogs resume action on Friday in what will be their biggest series of the season to this point. Georgia welcomes Vanderbilt to Foley Field for a three-game series. These are the top two teams in the SEC East right now, as Georgia is 7-2 in SEC play, while Vanderbilt is 6-3.
First pitch on Friday is set for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+
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Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) April 3, 2019
— Georgia Baseball (@BaseballUGA) April 4, 2019
— Georgia Softball (@UGASoftball) April 3, 2019
Matthew Stafford’s wife Kelly announced on Instagram that she has a brain tumor and will have surgery this month. pic.twitter.com/rtwKItjLKk
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 3, 2019
Good Dawg of the Day
This is Jimi. He’s just making sure you didn’t forget him in the tub. Would love to be dried off now please, if it’s not an inconvenience. 12/10 of course Jimi right away pic.twitter.com/Kwh2dVxERe
— WeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) April 3, 2019