Georgia football schedules in question, 2023 Oklahoma game discussed

DESTIN, Fla. — Georgia football has scheduling issues to work out regardless of the proposed model the SEC decides on, including the Oklahoma home-and-home series currently slated for 2023 and 2031.

“That’s something we are working on right now,” said UGA athletic director Josh Brooks, asked if the Sooners’ joining the SEC in 2025 could affect the series.

“When there’s clarity on that we’ll give everyone an update. It’s important to be respectful to everyone we’re working with.”

The Bulldogs are scheduled to play Oklahoma in Norman on Sept. 9 in 2023 in the second game of the season, with the Sooners due to make a return trip to Sanford Stadium in 2031.

Brooks, talking at the SEC Spring Meetings at the Sandestin Beach Hotel, said there are several ways to handle the scheduling complications that are unavoidable with Texas and Oklahoma joining the league in 2025.

“When you get into those situations, sometimes you can move a game forward, move it to another year, sometimes you outright drop it,” Brooks said.

“So sometimes, if it’s a home and away, you can drop, sometimes you can buy it out, sometimes you can move it forward. There are a lot of different tools you can use to solve that.”

Brooks shared that Georgia coach Kirby Smart has gotten involved in scheduling to add value to the schedule for the student-athletes and fans.

“I think when Coach Smart really got into putting his thumbprint on the schedule, he was intentional about getting bigger games, playing P5s, (Power 5) teams like Oregon,” Brooks said.

“And you’ve seen the other ones on our schedule, the Clemsons of the world, to truly bring a more valuable schedule to our fanbase and get these great one-off neutral site games, as well.”

Georgia opened its national championship season with a 10-3 win over Clemson in Charlotte, N.C.

The Bulldogs open this season against the Ducks on Sept. 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, and Georgia is scheduled to open the 2024 season (Aug. 31) with Clemson in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, as well.

Brooks conceded future schedules face challenges, particularly if the SEC elects to go with the 3-6, nine-game schedule model being discussed.

The 2026 UGA schedule, for example, already has four non-conference games scheduled: UCLA, Western Kentucky, Louisville and Georgia Tech.

“If it went to nine (conference games), yeah, by that metric, we couldn’t play 13 games,” Brooks said, asked if UGA might have to cancel or move a future game.

“That’s something we’d all each individually have to deal with if we went down that pathway (of nine SEC games).”

Brooks shared how Georgia’s football scheduling strategy might also change.

“As things evolve, and as you look at the criteria of the playoff situation and what’s important, those metrics could change,” Brooks said. “But I think right now we’ve been in more of a mode where it’s been 10 (Power 5 games), a G5 (Group of 5) team and an FCS (opponent).

“It’s been up and down a little bit with that. You’ve seen different schedules, but that’s kind of been the standard metric we’ve been working off. Sometimes, it could shift to be nine (Power 5 opponents) and two G5s (Group of 5 schools) and an FCS.”

The Bulldogs’ 2028 schedule has four games scheduled, too, but one of them is Texas -- which may or may not work out depending on how the league schedule works out once the Longhorns and Sooners join the league.

The 2031 Georgia schedule offers another example of four games being scheduled including future SEC-member Oklahoma along with road games at Ohio State and Georgia Tech and a home game against Western Carolina.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was vague and non-committal when asked about whether the league would vote on a future scheduling model this week, even though it has been one of the primary discussions between the coaches, athletic directors and league presidents.

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