Yesterday the SEC released the full list of scheduled interdivisional football games through 2025.You'll recall that the League recently made the decision to stay with an eight game conference schedule as we move bravely into the FBS playoff era. SEC teams will play the six teams in their division, a permanent non-divisional opponent (in Georgia's case the WarPlainsTigerOfferingPlateStuffers), and a rotating opponent from the other division. In short, the games announced last night were the metaphorical other shoe we knew would have to drop to stay at eight games and maintain the historic Georgia/Auburn and Alabama/Tennessee rivalries.
There's a lot to see, but for Georgia fans the high points are these. As expected the Bulldogs will travel to Little Rock to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2014. In 2015 the winner of the race to replace Hutson Mason will get a chance to show he's up to the task by welcoming Alabama to Sanford Stadium. The 'Dawgs will play at Ole Miss in 2016 and host Mississippi State in 2017.
Unless things change 2018 marks a significant uptick in competition, as that year the Red and Black will travel to LSU. The following season they will host Texas A&M, and 2020 brings a road trip to Tuscaloosa (which Washington Redskins coach Nick Saban will surely be watching).
Among the games which will be played by young men currently gearing up for the sixth grade, the 'Dawgs will host Arkansas in 2021, Mississippi State in 2022, and Ole Miss in 2023. Finally, Georgia will make its first trip to College Station to take on Texas A&M at Kyle Field in 2024, then host LSU in Athens in 2025.
Other less subtle points worth considering:
- Is now the appropriate time to whine about playing Alabama twice in a decade, or do we have to wait until we actually play them next season? Can somebody find me a South Carolina message board denizen so I can get an expert ruling on this one?
- Speaking of the Gamecocks, they play at Auburn in 2014 then host LSU in 2015. If you forget, don't worry, that same South Carolina message board guy will remind you 65 times over the next 16 months or so.
- I look forward to taking my newborn daughter to College Station as a late 10th birthday present, perhaps for her first SEC road game.
- The first college football game I ever attended was on October 10, 1987, a wrenching 26-23 loss to LSU in the confines of Sanford Stadium. On October 3, 2009 I attended a similarly wrenching 20-13 loss in Sanford Stadium to the same Bayou Bengals. Due to other obligations, I missed the September 28, 2013 duel between Georgia and LSU in which the Bulldogs emerged victorious, a moment which was likely the high point of the Red and Black's 2013 campaign. Once is an occurrence. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a pattern. Eleven years from now when I tell y'all that I'll see you in Athens for the LSU game someone remind me of this post, do us all a favor, and tell me to go fishing instead.
- Missouri won't make its first trip to Auburn for another eight years, which is convenient because they should have indoor plumbing and electricity by then.
- Alabama gets Florida at home in 2014 and Georgia in Athens in 2015, which Alabama fans will not let LSU fans forget about. Much as LSU fans won't let Alabama fans forget they're stuck playing Florida every year, even years in which Florida is 4-8 and loses to Georgia Southern. Hey, did you hear about the time Florida went 4-8 and lost to Georgia Southern? It was hilarious.
- All of this is subject to change for a variety of reasons. The SEC may eventually go to a nine game conference slate. Kentucky may join the Big Ten. Congress may outlaw football and instead force young athletes to compete on reality dating shows (Georgia will be coached by Josh Murray and Florida by some putz in a short tie). In short, I wouldn't book my hotel in College Station for 2024 just yet.
What are your thoughts on this absurdly far-reaching proclamation? Will those games from 2020 on get played? How do things balance out in the short term? Until later . . .