As always, Paul Westerdawg of the Georgia Sports Blog is on top of the latest Bulldog news.
This time, he reports that the Red and Black's scheduled three-game series with the Cincinnati Bearcats has been cancelled.
Cincinnati's athletic director, Mike Thomas, reportedly said, "My scheduling philosophy is that if we're going to play teams like that, they have a Midwest flavor."
Michigan and Ohio State qualify. Georgia does not.
While that position seems perfectly reasonable for the Bearcats, who began Big East play last season, I find myself wondering why that didn't occur to the Cincinnati athletic department before arrangements were made for the 'Cats and the 'Dawgs to meet in 2008, 2011, and 2014. Did no one bother to look at a map first?
Obviously, 2011 and 2014 are far enough in the future that options remain available for those years. (More on that anon.) However, in addition to having to fill a hole in the schedule for the 2007 season opener, the Red and Black now have to find another game for 2008, as well.
As Paul Westerdawg notes, it will be difficult to schedule a B.C.S. conference team---even a marginal B.C.S. team such as the Big East's Bearcats---in a year in which the Bulldogs are slated to face Alabama in Athens, Arizona State in Tempe, Auburn in Auburn, Florida in Jacksonville, Georgia Tech in Athens, Louisiana State in Baton Rouge, South Carolina in Columbia, and Tennessee in Athens. There simply are too many tough games---including five legitimate challenges outside the Classic City---for the 'Dawgs to work in another road trip two years hence.
As for the 2011 and 2014 openings on the Bulldogs' schedule, how 'bout if we take this opportunity to kill two birds with one stone? The plan had been to play the Bearcats once in Cincinnati and once in Athens during those years.
Since we were willing to do a home and home series with a Midwestern team from a B.C.S. conference during those two seasons, anyway, why not go for the gusto and replace Cincinnati with Michigan?
Yes, I know, the Bearcats are no Wolverines, even in a disappointing season for the Maize and Blue such as 2005, but, hey, in for a penny, in for a pound. . . .
Yes, I know, as well, that Clemson is scheduled to rotate back onto the Bulldogs' schedule early in the next decade, which would put the Red and Black in the position of playing the Tigers from Lake Hartwell and the Wolverines from Ann Arbor during the same campaign.
We played both of those teams during Vince Dooley's second season in Athens, though . . . and the Red and Black beat each of them. I say let's treat this Cincinnati situation as a gift, if not as a sign. Get a home game against a lesser opponent out of the 2008 opening, then schedule a big-time series against Michigan to fill out the 2011 and 2014 slates.
Opportunity is knocking. In this instance, we should adopt Mike Thomas's scheduling philosophy and play a big-name team with a Midwest flavor.