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Kirby Smart Likes Tough Non-Conference Opponents

"I think it helps your program when you open with a really good team."

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgia Bulldogs have been one of college football's tougher schedulers over the years, playing the likes of Oklahoma State, Boise State, Clemson and, this year, North Carolina along with the yearly matchup with Georgia Tech.

While some coaches and fans prefer to max out on payout or "body bag" games against smaller opponents, UGA coach Kirby Smart is okay with playing one more big boy. See below:

"To be honest, we haven't looked way far out," Smart says. "Some of it I inherited. Some of it, philosophically, will it change? Probably not. It's important to me that you play a good non-conference opponent outside of [Georgia] Tech. I think that helps you. When you get to do that, I think it helps your program when you open with a really good team. I'm always in favor of being able to play somebody [like that] opening. We won't get a chance to do that every year, we won't get the venue, but when we get the opportunity I'm excited to do it."

He also likes neutral site games like the one to open this season

"I'm always opening to playing somewhere. I think it's a great opportunity to expose your program, to get publicity, to go recruit outside your footprint. I think those are all great things that you can do for your program."

It's a tradition that'll continue with a trip to Notre Dame Sept. 9, 2017, followed by a return visit from the Irish in 2019. The 'Dawgs also have a pair of matchups scheduled with UCLA in 2025 and 2026.

While these games can potentially pile on an extra loss here or there, a great team will overcome any opponent, and be better for it.