There’s an interesting discussion thread on the DawgRun message board about Georgia’s 2009 schedule where the point is made that Damon Evans may have been a bit too aggressive with his scheduling of non-conference opponents, in that it may cost the Dawgs an opportunity to play for something big, like a national title, in either of those seasons.
I can’t say that I agree with that reasoning, at least in the context of the next two seasons. For one thing, you never know how things will turn out when you put a schedule together – or when the games are actually played, for that matter.
More importantly, I think Evans has made a conscious decision to elevate the visibility and prominence of the program on a national level. Like it or not, attitudes about the Georgia program like Stewart Mandel’s are not uncommon. One way to attack that is to become a little more fearless in scheduling OOC opponents. Doing so also has the benefit of raising the school’s profile nationally in recruiting, something Tennessee has pursued for a number of years with some success.
Besides, if you win these types of games, they help immensely in getting a school a shot to play in the BCS title game. Just ask LSU about how much the slaughter of Virginia Tech last year helped its chances. That’s why the Southern Cal game is so huge for Ohio State this season – win that game and the criticism about losing the last two BCS title games is blunted significantly.
If Richt has the program at the level most of us believe he does today, games like the ones coming up with Arizona State and Oklahoma State present the opportunity for Georgia to cement its position as among the truly elite, alongside the Southern Californias of the D-1 world, perhaps not so much in our eyes, but in the minds of the national media and the college football public. And that’s a good thing, a challenge worth embracing.
Last, but not least, as fans, don’t we prefer to shell out our money on games with opponents like these instead of 1-AA and Sun Belt Conference cupcakes? I know I do.