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What Big-Name Opponent Does Georgia Have on Tap for 2011 and 2012?

Even though the announcement that Michigan and Notre Dame had agreed to a 20-year contract extension kept The Movement from garnering mainstream media attention in the Journal-Constitution, the 'Dawgs still are in search of another top-tier opponent to add to Georgia's 2011 and 2012 slates. Paul Westerdawg has compiled a list of the available options, noting that the ideal arrangement for the Red and Black would be a road game in 2011 and a home game in 2012.

I must apologize to Maize 'n' Brew Dave for saying so, but Paul probably is right that Michigan essentially is off the table. Even though Bill Martin has given us the most slender ray of hope, the Wolverines are not looking to schedule a tough non-conference away game in an even-numbered year, when the Maize and Blue will face Notre Dame and Ohio State on the road. Trips to Athens, Columbus, and South Bend in the same season would be too much to ask.

Speaking of trips to the Classic City, did you know that Sons of Italy is now a barbecue joint? Don't worry, though, Blogger Who Came In From The Cold . . . the Arch is still there.

Texas, which featured prominently on my list and is faring well in the current poll (for which you may vote here), is not outside the realm of possibility, but the prospects, regrettably, are unlikely in those seasons. The Longhorns' 2011 slate includes a road date against U.C.L.A. A 66-3 home loss to the Bruins in 1997 cost John Mackovic his job and, in his first season on the 40 Acres the following fall, Mack Brown fell to U.C.L.A. in the Golden State by a 49-31 margin in his second game with the 'Horns. The eyes of Texas will be upon the Bruins and there is no way the 'Dawgs will find a spot on that slate . . . particularly not one week before the Longhorns' westward trek.

The likely suspects, then, are these:

Boston College
N.C. State
Southern California
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Washington State

Some of those, I would rule out right away. The Bulldogs have beaten the Boilermakers in overtime in two bowl games in the last eight seasons; the only way I could be any more done with Purdue is if it moved from West Lafayette to Charlottesville, changed its colors to orange and blue, and asked if we wanted to play in the Peach Bowl.

Speaking of playing Virginia in the Peach Bowl, did you know that, due to the complaints of Scarlet Knights fans, "swing points" is now the politically correct term for "cheap points"? (This reference to the State University of New Jersey is, of course, accompanied by the obligatory photograph of Rutgers alumna Kristin Davis.)

N.C. State offers a slight bit of history, but Georgia is 6-0-1 in regular-season meetings with the Wolfpack, with the Bulldogs' lone loss to N.C. State coming in the 1967 Liberty Bowl, when the A.C.C. squad was quarterbacked by Jim Donnan. What would be the point of scheduling the 'Pack now? Do we need revenge on Dick Sheridan for snubbing us that badly?

Speaking of Jim Donnan and coaches who snubbed us, what fun would it be to schedule the Golden Gophers now that Glen Mason is gone? Would we really want to send a Peach State team to play in the atrocity that is the Metrodome, the building that cost the Braves the 1991 World Series. (The Twins are 8-0 in World Series games played in the Metrodome and they are 0-6 in World Series games played elsewhere. It's the building, folks.)

Even not counting longstanding rivals Clemson and Georgia Tech, there are at least five A.C.C. schools I'd rather schedule than Maryland. There is, quite literally, no Pac-10 team I would less rather see Georgia play than Washington State. (Yes, I'd rather see the 'Dawgs play Stanford, for the sensible reasons LD gave.) Finally, I got everything I was ever going to get out of playing Texas Tech in the 1990s.

The rest of that list, though, is intriguing. The Golden Bears are about to wrap up a two-game set with the Volunteers and transcontinental traveling between Berkeley and Athens would be worthwhile, if only to prove that we can go on the road just as well as Cal. The Red and Black owe Pitt all kinds of payback for the '70s and '80s. While Texas A&M certainly is no Texas, the 'Dawgs have the same 1-3 ledger against the Aggies that they do against the 'Horns, and the last series meeting with the fine folks from College Station was historic, as that 42-0 shellacking of the Aggies marked the return of the silver britches in the first home game of the 1980 campaign.

No, not that 1980 campaign! I'm talking about the 1980 campaign that was won by someone from Georgia! (By the way, is Ronnie giving the "Hook 'Em Horns" sign there?)

I am all for scheduling Boston College. B.C. is a quality opponent that runs a classy program. I like the Eagles and I am anxious to get them right where we want them . . . namely, during the regular season and in the A.C.C. The 'Dawgs were 2-0 against Boston College when the two teams played a home-and-home set in the early '50s, but Georgia is 0-2 against the Eagles in bowl games. Moreover, Mark Richt is winless against the Big East (to which B.C. belonged at the time of the 2001 Music City Bowl) and undefeated against the A.C.C. (which the Eagles now call home).

At the top of the list, though, simply has to be U.S.C. To receive the national respect that even Georgia's rivals admit the 'Dawgs are due, the Red and Black must take on the best and what better program is there in the land than Southern California? Besides, the Bulldogs have unfinished business with the Men of Troy, having fallen to U.S.C. three times in three series meetings . . . all, incidentally, played in Los Angeles. (I told you Georgia used to schedule nationally!)

Harry Mehre's 1931 and 1933 Georgia squads were Southern powerhouses, posting a combined 16-4 ledger and claiming wins over Yale in New Haven, North Carolina in Chapel Hill (twice), Florida in Gainesville (yes, Gainesville), and N.Y.U. both in New York and in the Classic City. Both of those Bulldog teams ended the season on the West Coast, where they were obliterated by the Trojans. U.S.C.'s win over Georgia in 1931 remains to this day the worst whipping ever administered to a Red and Black squad in 115 years of football.

If those are the available options, my preference would be to see Georgia play Southern California in a clash between two elite programs and a pair of elite coaches. Since we're now talking about seasons that aren't that far down the road---the president we elect next year will not yet have run for re-election by the time the 2011 football season is played---I'm interested to know which teams you'd like to see Georgia schedule at the start of the next decade.

Go 'Dawgs!