Georgia picks up Ball State to replace Oklahoma on 2023 schedule

ATHENS — Georgia’s 2023 football schedule just encountered a significant downgrade.

By order of the SEC, the Bulldogs dropped Oklahoma from their 2023 home schedule. As a replacement, UGA added Ball State for the Sept. 9 slot in the 2023 home schedule.

That move will leave Georgia with one of its least attractive September schedules in recent memory. As it stands, the Bulldogs will play host to Tennessee-Martin (Sept. 2), Ball State (Sept. 9) and Alabama-Birmingham (Sept. 23) in 2023. The Saturdays of Sept. 16 and 30 are listed as “TBDs” and are expected to be filled by conference opponents.

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The only other date the Bulldogs have set for 2023 is their annual regular-season finale against Georgia Tech on Nov. 25. That game is scheduled to be played at Tech.

It’s all part of the SEC’s grand scheme to get Oklahoma and Texas into the league as quickly as possible. Last summer, those schools accepted the SEC’s invitation to join the conference sometime after the Big 12′s TV contract expires after the 2024 season.

Long before that, the Bulldogs and Sooners scheduled a home-and-home series that would bring Oklahoma to Georgia in 2023 and take the Bulldogs to Norman, Okla., during the 2031 season. But that was well before the SEC fired the first shot last summer in what’s expected to be a continued period of conference realignment.

News leaked in July 2021 that the SEC had brokered a deal with Texas and Oklahoma, old Southwest Conference powers, to join the SEC. The move will expand the league to 16 schools and likely significantly enhance their future TV agreements.

Earlier this month, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said he’s hopeful that the newest members will be able to join the league before the 2025 season. He also said that membership favors expanding to a nine-game conference schedule whenever they do.

Georgia and Oklahoma have played only one time in the schools’ storied football histories. The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs defeated then-No. 2 Oklahoma 54-48 in double overtime in the Rose Bowl in a semifinal matchup in the 2017 College Football Playoff.