Georgia football scheduling: Sanford Stadium non-conference slate watered down
ATHENS — If the Florida-Georgia football rivalry continues to be played in Jacksonville beyond 2021, one unintended consequence will be watered-down schedules at Sanford Stadium for several years.
Georgia plays home-and-home series with other SEC East Division teams, such as Vanderbilt, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina. The Bulldogs’ annual West Division opponent, Auburn, also plays home-and-home.
But the UGA administration has painted themselves into a corner of sorts with their non-conference scheduling, UGA has contracts in place to play high-profile teams in Atlanta — not Athens — in coming seasons.
Georgia’s games in Atlanta are set for 2020 against Virginia, 2022 (Oregon) and 2024 (Clemson).
Georgia plays at Oklahoma in 2023 and plays at UCLA in 2025.
The Sooners don’t play the return game in Athens until 2031.
As things stand, Bulldogs fans won’t see another high-profile, non-conference Power 5 team in Athens again until 2026, when UCLA plays the return game.
That could complicate ticket sales should Coach Kirby Smart not keep Georgia competing for the four-team College Football Playoff on an annual basis.
By the time another strong Power 5 program comes to Athens — assuming UCLA is a winning program in 2026 –the current administration negotiating the extension for Georgia to play Florida in Jacksonville will be gone.
Georgia fans enjoyed a rare marquee game at Sanford Stadium against Notre Dame this season, the first non-conference game of Top 10 teams between the hedges since 1966.
Smart said it was good to have that sort of environment to recruit to and for the Georgia fans to enjoy in Athens.
“I certainly think games like that are needed, especially right now,” Smart said. “I think they’re really important, I think having a balance, to me it’s as much about the fan experience as it it matchups.
“It’s important your fans enjoying coming to your games, that they have a good atmosphere, they’re able to put a good product on the field that they can enjoy.”
Here’s a look at Georgia’s future non-conference opponents, and the plight the Sanford Stadium portion of the schedule faces moving forward in the coming years.
Non-Conference opponents through 2025
2020 — Sept. 12 East Tennessee
2020 — Sept. 26 Louisiana Monroe
2020 — Nov. 28 Georgia Tech
2021 — Sept. 4 San Jose State
2021 — Sept. 11 UAB
2021 — Nov. 20 Charleston Southern
2022 — Sept. 10 Sanford
2022 — Sept. 24 Kent State
2022 — Nov. 26 Georgia Tech
2023 — Sept. 23 UAB
2024 — Sept. 7 Tennessee Tech
2024 — Nov. 23 UMass
2024 — Nov. 30 Georgia Tech
2025 — Nov. 22 Charlotte
2020 — Sept. 7 Virginia
2022 — Sept. 3 Oregon
2024 — Aug. 31 Clemson
2021 — Nov. 27 Georgia Tech
2023 — Sept. 9 Oklahoma
2023 — Nov. 25 Georgia Tech
2025 — Aug. 30 UCLA
2025 — Nov. 29 Georgia Tech