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Post 2020 schedule, take 2

Tuesday August 18, 2020

Georgia’s revised conference-only 2020 schedule was released Monday night. It’s surreal to write about a schedule that stands a fair chance of further revision or outright cancellation, but it’s what we have for now.

Even if it ends up never taking place, the 10-game SEC slate looks mighty attractive, and it’s going to be tough going back. Give me Tech and maybe another P5 nonconference game, and you’ve got a compelling schedule in the years to come. The revised home schedule isn’t great, but the original schedule wasn’t much to look at either. Tennessee and Auburn are still on there, and a visit from Mike Leach’s MSU Bulldogs replaces Georgia Tech and a couple of forgettable contract games.

Here’s the complete SEC schedule, and here’s Georgia’s slate:

Sept. 26: at Arkansas
Oct. 3: Auburn
Oct. 10: Tennessee
Oct. 17: at Alabama
Oct. 24: at Kentucky
Oct. 31: Bye
Nov. 7: vs. Florida (Jax)
Nov. 14: at Missouri
Nov. 21: Mississippi State
Nov. 28: at South Carolina
Dec. 5: Vanderbilt

  • Attention will be focused on the front of the schedule, and consecutive games against Auburn, Tennessee, and Alabama jump out. What might be more important to Georgia’s season is the midseason stretch from Alabama through Florida. There will be three straight games requiring out-of-state travel, and Kentucky has proven to be a credible threat in the division. Alabama and Florida need no hype. By that point in the season, you’ll also have the early wear and tear begin to take their toll – remember how much the fortunes of 2013 changed from September to October.
  • In 2019, Georgia’s November SEC schedule was widely described as a “gauntlet.” The four-game stretch from Florida to Texas A&M featured three opponents ranked in the top 16 of SP+, and Missouri was still a respectable #36. That doesn’t seem to be the case this year. Missouri and Mississippi State will still be working through first-year coach issues. We know better than to overlook South Carolina, especially on the road, but Georgia should once again be favored. If Georgia comes out of Jacksonville on top of the division, they’ll be heavy favorites to finish the job.
  • Yes, that’s only four home games out of ten. It’s Georgia’s turn as the home team in Jacksonville, and the Bulldogs won’t have any of the nonconference games that would have filled out the usual home slate. Georgia will have to travel out-of-state for six of its ten games.
  • That itinerary means that Georgia will go six weeks in the middle of the season without a true home game. That’s not unusual; the game in Jacksonville often means an extended road trip during October even in normal seasons. There will also be the usual pre-Florida bye week during the road trip.
  • Since this is all improvised, several traditional dates were sacrificed. Georgia-Auburn moves to the beginning of the season, but that was expected in the original schedule. The Iron Bowl is no longer the last game of the season. Alabama’s “Third Saturday in October” opponent is now Georgia rather than Tennessee. Georgia-Florida won’t be a Halloween trick or treat, but the November 7th date is more in line with when the game was played prior to 1992.
  • A schedule release usually leads us to think about travel plans. Georgia hasn’t been to Fayetteville since 2009. For the first time in years, the Kentucky trip is in October. Keeneland’s Fall Meet will run through October 24th, though attendance details haven’t been released yet. Columbia, SC might even be pleasant in late November, and it will be nice to avoid the furnace that is a mid-September game over there.
  • It might be best to hold off planning elaborate road trips. The SEC will limit visiting teams to just 500 tickets, and there almost surely won’t be tickets sold to the general public.
  • I hope your WLOCP reservations were refundable. Maybe you’ll just extend your plans another week.
  • The Jacksonville NFL schedule wasn’t much help in divining the date of the WLOCP. Jacksonville will host the Georgia-Florida game and an NFL game on consecutive days. That’s quite a long night for stadium operations people, but it would be made easier if organizers aren’t expecting many people at either event.
  • It’s small potatoes in the scheme of building a schedule from scratch during a pandemic, but I do hope Georgia’s administration at least tried to preserve the date in Jacksonville. It’s the only neutral-site game in the conference, and so it’s the only game for which both sets of fans would travel. Even if fans aren’t allowed at the game (or are limited), a lot of people have money wrapped up in the weekend of October 31st.
  • When schedules began moving around in the spring and summer, a tantalizing possibility was a double-header with a big Georgia home game and the Masters. Now we know that Georgia won’t host a home game on November 14th (they’ll play at Missouri), and Augusta National won’t have patrons at the Masters. You’ll be watching both events from home.

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