The big questions for Georgia football as it continues to prepare for 2020 season
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What comes next for Georgia football as it continues with trying to play college football
The SEC, along with the ACC and Big 12 are going to push on and try to have a season while the Big Ten and PAC-12 have punted on fall football and hope to have it in the spring. This is, of course, all subject to change, especially with students coming back to campus in the coming days.
So what comes next for Georgia and the football team? When does practice begin? When is the full schedule coming out? Will recruiting visits be allowed and what happens if a player decides to opt-out?
Below we answer all those questions and how they’ll impact the coming season.
When does practice start for Georgia football?
For all SEC programs, practices can begin on Aug. 17. Some ACC teams have already begun practicing, though those teams all have games before the SEC teams do. The Big 12 does as well, with each team having to play its non-conference game prior to the start of conference play on Sept. 26.
Students start class at Georgia on Aug. 20. The Bulldogs have already been on campus since and prepping for the start of practice in recent weeks by holding team meetings along with strength and conditioning work.
When is the first Georgia football game and who are the Bulldogs playing?
We know the date, as it’s Sept. 26. That’s the opening week for every SEC team. But we still don’t yet know the order of games for the 2020 season yet, as the SEC is the lone Power 5 conference to put out a full schedule. The Big 12 did so on Wednesday.
The Bulldogs will have home games against Auburn, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. The road games will come against Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri and Kentucky. The game against Florida will. be played in Jacksonville, Fla.
What happens if a player decides to opt-out after games have started? How is the season impacted?
The Division I Council made recommendations on Wednesday about how players’ eligibility will be impacted this fall. While these are not yet official, it does gives us a good idea of what framework the NCAA is willing to give teams and players.
If a player decides to opt they will receive an extension of their five-year period, to play four seasons, of eligibility. If a player decides to opt during the season but does so before participating in more than 50 percent of the games, they will also be granted an additional season. So players will have up to five games to play in before deciding if they want to opt for the season.
The NCAA’s Board of Directors will vote to finalize these recommendations on Aug. 21.
— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) August 12, 2020
Will fans and recruiting visitors be allowed in once games begin?
As for the fans, Georgia is working on a model that would allow between 18,000 and 30,000 fans in attendance, though that can change depending on local health legislation, CDC recommendations and SEC directives. Some states like New Jersey, New York and Ohio have already ruled out the possibility of having fans at sporting events.
As for recruiting visitors, there won’t be any until at least Oct. 1, as the NCAA also extended the dead period through Sept. 30 and will visit the matter once again in September. Teams have been unable to visit recruits or have recruits come and tour football facilities since March.
But that hasn’t exactly slowed recruiting momentum for some teams, including Georgia. Just this week, the Bulldogs landed a commitment from 4-star tight end Brock Bowers from all the way out in Napa, Calif. The Bulldogs have the No. 14 recruiting class in the country at the moment.
How do the Georgia football players feel about the current set-up?
While reporters haven’t gotten much of a chance to ask players directly, many on social media have made it clear that they want to play this season. Most vocal is perhaps running back Zamir White who tweeted out his thoughts on the matter.
“We’ve worked too hard to not be able to take the field this fall. I trust the plan that our leadership has to keep us safe on the field and off. Our team is focused and ready to play,” White said
— Zamir White (@zeus1_34) August 11, 2020
It’s the season I’ve been waiting for .. #WeWantToPlay
— Jamaree Salyer ♠️ (@jamareesalyer69) August 12, 2020
— Justin Shaffer (@ShafferJustin54) August 12, 2020
Kirby Smart retweeted a number of his players speaking on the matter, seemingly endorsing their message.
Parents have also expressed how comfortable they feel with their sons on campus. Both Dean Ratledge, father of 2020 signee Tate Ratledge, and Chris Milton, father of 2020 signee Kendall Milton, both described how they felt about having their children at the University of Georgia.
— Dean Ratledge (@dratledge81) August 10, 2020
Had an opportunity to think. I think my son is safer in a STRUCTURED, and SAFE football system with protocols in place, rather than walking and roaming freely through the rest of the student body. Plus, some of these athletes are safer at school than at home.
— Chris Milton (@fatherofballers) August 10, 2020
What will a College Football Playoff look like?
This is still an unknown. Without having two of the Power 5 conferences eligible this fall it does make things a little more difficult. The executive director of the College Football Playoff Bill Hancock told Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde that it was the committee is, “are awaiting guidance from the CFP board and management committee.”
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney weighed in on the legitimacy of a national champion when the Big Ten and PAC-12 opted out.
“Whoever wins it, wins it. That’s the champ,” Swinney told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s the same way in every sport. … Somebody is gonna win a championship, so maybe it’s a shortened season, maybe it’s not as many teams or whatever. But you best believe whoever wins it is gonna have to earn it. Nobody’s gonna give nothing to nobody, so you can only control what you control.”
The last time a Big Ten or PAC-12 team played in a College Football Playoff championship game was back in 2014 when Oregon played Ohio State. The SEC has had three teams play for the title in that time, while Clemson has played in four of the last five national title games.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Georgia football podcast: Big Ten, PAC-12 aren’t necessary for legitimate national championship
- WATCH: How Big Ten, PAC-12 decisions impact Georgia football and SEC
- SEC, ACC, Big 12 lead way in championship appearances, college football moves forward
- Georgia athletics’ buy-in runs deep despite COVID-19 challenges
- Report: Big 12 football moving forward toward season with enhanced COVID-19 protocol
- Greg Sankey issues statement, Urban Meyer says ‘No chance’ of spring football season
- Georgia walk-on linebacker shares how Kirby Smart, team is preparing for season amid pandemic
- With Big Ten season canceled, many wonder what comes next for Justin Fields
- Pac-12 cancels fall athletics: ‘College sports cannot operate in a bubble’
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— Alex McDaniel (@AlexMcDaniel) August 12, 2020
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— Glenn Schumann (@CoachSchuUGA) August 12, 2020
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) August 11, 2020
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— Alex (@alexxxxclifton) August 12, 2020