What a big non-conference game such as Saturday at home against Notre Dame does, however, is separate Georgia from the herd. It makes it look better, to fans, recruits, everyone. In relative terms, if each SEC school’s schedule was a milkshake, Georgia’s would have a nice plump cherry sitting atop of it — Notre Dame.
“This is just in addition to,” Smart said. “This is your way to differentiate yourself from other SEC schools you recruit against because you got an opportunity to play at Notre Dame, and to play Notre Dame at home.”
When you look at the non-conference games the Bulldogs are scheduling for the future, you notice similar tendencies. They have mutual-site games with Oregon and Clemson, home-and-home series with Oklahoma, UCLA, Texas and a single away game with Florida State. In total, it’s a numerous amount of cherries for UGA, cherries that both fans and recruits will eat for the next decade.
“It's exciting for the fans,” Smart said. “The fans enjoy these games. They want you to play high-caliber opponents. They want to see these kinds of games and this kind of atmosphere.”