Except for Tech, all future Georgia nonconference games in jeopardy

ATHENS — About that 2023 schedule, all UGA can say is, “we’re sorry.”

ExploreGeorgia's 2023 football schedule released

That was the sentiment athletic director Josh Brooks expressed this past Friday when asked if there was anything else Georgia could do besides add Ball State to the 2023 schedule as a replacement for the lost game against Oklahoma.

“It’s unfortunate,” Brooks said after the athletic board’s fall meeting was concluded. “I understand the need and the want for bigger games at home. We just got stuck in a situation where there weren’t a lot of options.”

The Bulldogs found themselves in a bind when the SEC ordered them to cancel a long-scheduled home-and-home series with Oklahoma. With Oklahoma and Texas now set to join the league by 2025, the conference insisted any games against those two schools scheduled after they would become members had to be canceled. Georgia also had a home-and-home series scheduled with the Longhorns in 2028-29. Those contracts also have been nullified.

Georgia’s arrangement with the Sooners was unusual in that it had the Bulldogs going to Norman, Okla., in 2023 and Oklahoma not coming back to Athens until 2031. There apparently was some discussion about trying to at least play the 2023 game at a neutral site. Brooks neither confirmed nor denied that.

“I’m not going to discuss private matters out of respect for Oklahoma,” Brooks said. “We went through several options. Trust me, we vetted every option possible.”

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The Oklahoma series is not the only one affected. The Bulldogs have several home-and-home series scheduled beyond 2023 that were set up by former AD Greg McGarity. They were arranged at the behest of coach Kirby Smart, who wanted Georgia to play more high-profile nonconference opponents. So, home-and-homes were brokered with Florida State, UCLA, Louisville and Clemson, in addition to Texas and Oklahoma.

Brooks said that, with the exception of Georgia’s annual state-rivalry game against Georgia Tech, none of those future games are guaranteed anymore. They’re all pending the outcome of the expanded SEC’s future-scheduling model.

That has yet to be determined. However, it appears that SEC ADs and presidents are favoring a nine-game, no-divisions model. Brooks asserts that, in itself, should enhance future schedules.

“I think we’re solving a lot of that as we work through future SEC scheduling,” Brooks said. “I think one of the main priorities that we focused on as ADs is, whatever we land on, it’s going to provide greater variability of scheduling. No matter where we land, you’re see a greater variability of playing the Western teams. As we look at a possibility of one grouping, not East and West, then you’ll get a greater rotation, so you won’t get so stagnant. I think that will provide some greater home games in the future.”

The good news is there won’t likely be a ticket-price increase at UGA for a while.

“You always factor those things in,” Brooks admitted.

FUTURE NONCONFERENCE OPPONENTS

2023

  • 09/02 – UT Martin
  • 09/09 – Ball State
  • 09/23 – UAB
  • 11/25 – at Georgia Tech

2024

  • 08/31 – Clemson (in Atlanta)
  • 09/07 – Tennessee Tech
  • 11/23 – UMass
  • 11/30 – Georgia Tech

2025

  • 08/30 – at UCLA
  • 09/06 – Austin Peay
  • 11/22 – Charlotte
  • 11/29 – at Georgia Tech

2026

  • 09/05 – UCLA
  • 09/12 – Western Kentucky
  • 09/19 – at Louisville
  • 11/28 – Georgia Tech

2027

  • 09/04 – at Florida State
  • 09/18 – Louisville
  • 11/27 – at Georgia Tech

2028

  • 09/02 – at Texas
  • 09/09 – Florida A&M
  • 09/16 – Florida State
  • 11/25 – Georgia Tech

2029

  • 09/01 – Texas
  • 09/15 – at Clemson
  • 11/24 – at Georgia Tech

2030

  • 08/31 – Clemson
  • 09/07 – North Carolina A&T
  • 09/14 – Ohio State
  • 11/30 – Georgia Tech

2031

  • 08/30 – at Ohio State
  • 09/06 – Western Carolina
  • 11/29 – at Georgia Tech

2032

  • 09/04 – Clemson
  • 11/27 – Georgia Tech

2033

  • 09/03 – at Clemson
  • 09/17 – NC State
  • 11/26 – at Georgia Tech

2034

  • 09/16 – at NC State
  • 11/25 – Georgia Tech

2035

  • 11/24 – at Georgia Tech

2036

  • 11/29 – Georgia Tech