ATHENS — Georgia football fans surely got a chuckle out of Florida coach Dan Mullen suggesting the Bulldogs are playing catch-up to the Gators in the scheduling department.
Fact is, Georgia has been more aggressive scheduling Power 5 opponents than rival SEC schools since the inception of the 12-game regular season in 2006.
Between 2006 and 2020, the Bulldogs will have played two non-conference Power 5 opponents in the same regular season 11 of 15 years.
That’s not even including a game with a No. 5-ranked Boise State team in 2011.
Florida, meanwhile, has scheduled two non-conference Power 5 opponents in the same regular season in four of the past 15 campaigns. Those teams are Miami (2008, 2013, 2019) and Michigan (2017) in addition to their annual game with Florida State.
Mullen, however, chose to zero-in on Georgia’s recent announcement about adding Florida State in 2027-2028 — a program that Gators play annually.
“We play Florida State, so people are trying to catch up to us, with how tough our schedule is, to be honest with you,” Mullen said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “We play Florida State every year, right? Georgia is playing them. They’re trying to catch up to us, I guess. Toughen their schedule.”
Mullen is right about Georgia coach Kirby Smart’s intent to add marquee opponents to future Bulldogs’ slate.
But there’s not much catching up to be done when one considers UGA’s recent scheduling history compared with other top SEC schools.
Alabama has scheduled more than one Power 5 non-conference opponent in the same regular season in the 2006-2020 window just once, in 2010 (Penn State and Duke).
Tennessee hasn’t had any seasons since 2006 where it has played two non-conference games against Power 5 competition in the same regular season. The Vols have had two seasons since then — including this one — where they haven’t played any Power 5 non-conference competition in the regular season.
Auburn, like Tennessee, hasn’t had any regular seasons since 2006 where it has played two non-conference games against Power 5 competition.
Georgia might have even more occasions with two or more Power 5 non-conference teams in a regular season had opponents not backed out.
Memorandum of understanding deals with other programs, such as Ohio State and Penn State, fell through after those programs made coaching changes.