UGA schedules football series with UCLA

Greg McGarity of UGA. (Curtis Compton /
Greg McGarity of UGA. (Curtis Compton /

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

For the first time in decades, Georgia is heading to the West Coast to play a football game.

The Bulldogs and UCLA will play a home-and-home football series in 2025 and 2026. Georgia will play the Bruins at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Aug. 30 to open up the ‘25 season and the return game in Athens the next year at Sanford Stadium will be on Sept. 5.

“This home-and-home series provides an opportunity for our students and fans to enjoy a great matchup of two tradition-rich football programs in two of the most iconic venues in sports — the Rose Bowl and Sanford Stadium,” UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said. “These games will attract significant national attention on the opening weekend of the college football season.”

Georgia defeated UCLA in the Jan. 1, 1943, Rose Bowl game 9-0. The Bulldogs won again in the 1983 season opener in Athens 19-8.

It will be Georgia’s first West Coast encounter in 65 years. UGA last played in California in 1960, when it faced Southern Cal in Los Angeles. The Bulldogs lost that game 10-3.

“It’s kind of a goal we’ve had is over the next decade to play in some iconic stadiums,” McGarity said Wednesday. “We’ve been able to accomplish that with Notre Dame in South Bend (in 2017) and UCLA in Pasadena. If we can get something done with a Big Ten opponent, we will have done that.”

The Bruins are the second high-profile opponent Georgia has added to its schedule in recent years. The Bulldogs will play Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., in 2017 and then host the Fighting Irish in Athens in 2019.

Georgia is still trying to identify a Big Ten opponent to play between 2021-23. The Bulldogs have faced two Pac-12 teams in recent years. They played Arizona State in Tempe in 2009, winning 27-10, and lost at Colorado in Boulder 29-27 the next year.

The Georgia game is also representative of UCLA’s efforts to bolster its non-conference schedule. The Bulldogs will be the third SEC team the Bruins play over the next 10 years. They’re set to play Texas A&M in 2016-17 and LSU in 2021 and 2024. UCLA also announced a nonconference home game against South Alabama on Sept. 17, 2022. That game comes a week after the Bruins start a home-and-home series against Michigan in Ann Arbor. UCLA has also scheduled a home-and-home with Cincinnati beginning in 2018.