One way or another, the University of Georgia football program, not to mention its fan base will do one thing during the next five or so years, at least.
With Tuesday’s official word, Georgia will play Oregon in the Chick-fil-A kickoff game in 2022 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. That’s two years after Georgia’s next appearance there in 2020 against Virginia (hopefully Tiki and Ronde Barber won’t be around for that one UVA sidelines.
It’s a continued right move for Georgia’s future scheduling, but it could be even better.
On one hand, Georgia getting lined up for the kickoff game instead of an Auburn or Alabama is huge. That exposure that the SEC West powers get in one of the hottest recruiting hotbeds? It’s lessened. Just scan social media these days and other places, and you see Auburn shoved in your face about playing in the kickoff game. That’s a huge recruiting visibility, and Georgia knows it.
It reinforces that Georgia’s brand is much more attractive than even a few years ago. Now, Georgia does not have to twist the arm of anyone to have the right to..um...play a neutral site game in its own home state. The Bulldogs have gone from perception wise, to ‘what would it take for us to be picked play in this game’ to ‘they’re asking, ‘what would it take for us to say no to playing in this game.;
Still, the devil is in the details. The challenge for Georgia is to make its home schedule compelling while having one less power 5 opponent at home or...the chance for Georgia’s fan base to travel to a new location. It’s a shame that Georgia’s fans won’t have a chance to travel to a new venue, especially Eugene, Oregon.
Hopefully, the chatter about a renewing of the Clemson series..plus another certain orange team with a national title from outside the SEC... bends more toward a home-and-home and less toward a neutral site tilt.