But The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained an copy of the Bulldogs’ slate from people with knowledge and access into the months-long planning process that has gone into retooling of the SEC schedule to accommodate 16 teams playing eight conference games while preserving whatever rivalries they can.
As expected, Georgia was able to keep longtime SEC rivals Florida and Auburn in place. But while the Gators will remain in their traditional late-October, early-November spot on the calendar (Nov. 2, in next year’s case), the Bulldogs draw Auburn the first weekend of October. That’s roughly the place the Tigers have occupied since 2020, when Auburn asked the SEC for some separation from its two biggest rivals, Alabama and Georgia, in the final weeks of the regular season. Before that, Auburn-Georgia – the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry – was played in November every year.
Ironically, it is the Bulldogs who will get the Crimson Tide and Auburn in back-to-back weeks in 2024. In fact, Georgia will play defending SEC champion Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 28, then get Auburn and Mississippi State in successive weeks at Sanford Stadium the beginning of October.
Then comes the Bulldogs’ much-anticipated trip to Texas to take on the Longhorns on Oct. 19. That date and the Tuscaloosa trip were leaked last week.
Georgia is 1-4 all-time against Texas and has played the Longhorns once in Austin. That was played Sept. 20, 1958, when sophomore quarterback Fran Tarkenton came off the bench to rally the Bulldogs, who still lost 13-8. Georgia last played the Longhorns on Jan. 1, 2019, losing 28-21 in the Sugar Bowl. Georgia’s only win in the series came in the 1984 Cotton Bowl, where it’s still 10-9.
Then will come a little normalcy. After playing at Texas, the Bulldogs will get their customary bye the Saturday before traveling to Jacksonville to play Florida on Nov. 2. Did we mention the Bulldogs have two byes in 2024? So does everybody in the SEC, the cyclical product of the fall calendar.
There will be more of a traditional feel to the last third of the schedule. Georgia plays Ole Miss in Oxford – there’s another former West team – then finishes with consecutive home games against Tennessee, Massachusetts and Georgia Tech.
It is somewhat unusual to end the regular season with three home games. The Bulldogs haven’t done that since 2018, when they closed against Auburn, UMass and Tech. Georgia also finished with three consecutive home games in 2016 and 2014, but rarely in the years before that.
The Bulldogs’ 2024 season gets started with a bang. It begins at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where Georgia will open against Clemson on Aug. 31 in the Aflac Kickoff game. It will be the fifth time since 2002 the Bulldogs have opened the season against their ACC neighbors to the East, but the first time in the 127 years the teams have played that they met in Atlanta. They played in Charlotte in the Duke’s Mayo Kickoff to open the 2021 campaign. Georgia won that one 10-3 to run their record to 43-18-4 against Clemson.
Georgia will come back home for a pay-to-play against Tennessee Tech, then hit the road in Week 3 to play Kentucky in Lexington. As it turns out, it is very likely that the Wildcats will have a familiar face playing quarterback Sept. 14 at Kroger Field. Brock Vandagriff, an Athens native and Georgia Bulldog for the past three years, announced Wednesday that he is transferring to Kentucky.
So, there it is, Georgia’s 2024 football schedule – intriguing at the beginning, ruggedly western in the middle and traditional at the end. But don’t tell anybody. ESPN promises lots of cool graphics and insightful commentary about it when they reveal all 16 teams’ schedule next week.
All we know for sure about that is what was previously leaked by ESPN. That included Georgia’s trips to Tuscaloosa and Austin, as well as a few marquee matchups such as Texas A&M at Florida on Sept. 14, Tennessee at Oklahoma on Sept. 21, Texas at Arkansas on Nov. 16, Alabama at Oklahoma on Nov. 23 and, of course, Texas at Texas A&M on Nov. 30. The one basic tenet of the 2024 SEC schedule was that each of the 14 existing conference members would play either Oklahoma or Texas, home or away, during this first season.
But don’t get too comfortable with this setup. The 2024 eight-game schedule model was settled upon this past summer as a one-off to get the new 16-team league through the first year of expansion. A nine-game model going forward is still under consideration.
There promises to be another reveal show in 2025.
2024 GEORGIA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Aug. 31 vs. Clemson (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
Sept. 7 Tennessee Tech
Sept. 14 at Kentucky
Sept. 21 Bye week
Sept. 28 at Alabama
Oct. 5 Auburn
Oct. 12 Miss. State
Oct. 19 at Texas
Oct. 26 Bye week
Nov. 2 vs. Florida (Jacksonville)
Nov. 9 at Ole Miss
Nov. 16 Tennessee
Nov. 23 Massachusetts
Nov. 30 Georgia Tech