‘Da schedule, ‘da schedule

If there’s one thing for optimists about Georgia’s 2011 season to hang their hats on, it’s the schedule.  It’s about as beautifully structured as Mark Richt could hope for:  no Alabama, Arkansas or LSU from the SEC West, a bye week before the Florida game, New Mexico State inserted between the Florida and Auburn games and no game in the stadium of an opponent with a winning record in 2010.

Overall, John Pennington rates it as the eighth-easiest schedule of any team in the SEC.  But it’s not just the easy parts that are attractive.  Georgia opens with two ranked opponents, but will not leave the state to play either.  Given the attention that the opener against Boise State will generate, if the Dawgs can get off to a good start in the first two games (boys, hang on to those jerseys!), they will find themselves highly ranked.

It’s hardly worth saying that this is no guarantee of success.  But it’s why I understand cocknfire’s reasoning here:

… I will say this much: If you were to combine the likelihood of an SEC East team going undefeated or having just one loss and having the schedule that would put it in the national championship game, I think Georgia is the best choice. I just have a difficult time seeing anyone in the east go undefeated or once-defeated this year.

And here’s something you can think about and chuckle over:  during the SEC’s current fabulous run of BCS title game winners, it hasn’t been the preseason front-runner that’s had the greatest success.  In fact, during the last five years, the highest ranked team in the conference has only won the big game once.

… Coming off a 3-5 SEC slate in 2009 (8-5 overall), Auburn was preseason No. 22 and ranked fifth among SEC teams in the poll. So while Alabama will likely be the highest-ranked SEC team in the preseason AP Poll, don’t ignore teams with similar resumes to this season’s Auburn, entering 2011.

That’s a spot LSU could find itself in entering 2011. The Tigers, as Chris Low noted, were 5-2 against ranked teams in 2010.

We’re talking about Florida, which finished 8-5 overall, 4-4 in SEC and won the Outback Bowl just as Auburn did to end the 2009 season.

There’s also Georgia, which was 3-5 in the SEC, but could have the top quarterback in the SEC next season in Aaron Murray.

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31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

31 responses to “‘Da schedule, ‘da schedule

  1. crapsandwich

    Oh the inexact science of college football. What happened to the “any team can win on a given Saturday in the SEC” mantra?

    By the way, weren’t we suppose to have a rather soft schedule last season? Pundits said we could beat Arkansas since we were between the hedges, Colorado is a cupcake, South Carolina will be a tough game…but its South Carolina, and Georgia can beat the worst Florida team in two decades, and of course the ,we just have to put our helmets on game, against C. Florida.

    I am firmly convinced the off season is going to be maddening.

  2. sUGArdaddy

    It might be maddening, but the post is right. We have the best looking schedule. We just have to find a way to win. What I mean is that we’ve got to learn how to win. If we can figure that out the first 2 weeks, it could be a fun season because we CAN win a lot of those games. We only leave the state of Georgia 4 times, compared to 6 times this past year.

    The good news is that in almost every game we play, the guy we have under center is better than their guy, and that means A LOT in college football. The bad news is that the 2 best QBs we’ll play will be the first 2 weeks of the season. So, it’s really about the defense.

    • Will (the other one)

      We did play far better at home than away as well, losing only that close one to Arky. And Manny Diaz no longer coaching the D for MSU makes me feel better about their visit.
      That said, no way is Ole Miss as bad as they were last season.

      • Dawgwalker07

        Conversely, there’s no way Ole Miss is good enough to make me afraid that something bad will happen if we just come out and execute.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Didn’t Ole Miss oversign to the max the last 2 years? It shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Rebs have a Bama-like turnaround in ’11.

  3. Aubiece

    No reason that the dawgs should not be in the hunt for the SEC.
    Big games mostly at home, but do need to beat UF in Jax.
    Dawgs have the talent, do they have the heart and coaching?

  4. Vincent

    we had an easy schedule this year. this is also the same sec west schedule we had in 06. I’m not buying it.

    • Gary

      The SEC west schedule was not the reason for the down year in 2006. All four losses were to SEC East teams and we were starting a true freshmen QB. This year is different because the SEC East is down as well and nothing like they were in 2006 when UGA, UF, and UT were all in the top 10 at one point or another.

  5. Macallanlover

    Bama and LSU should be a war this year with the winner getting to the Dome. I don’t think it matters who wins the East, justdon’t see anyone having the talent to play the West winner. But, any given Saturday is still in play. As for UGA, I would be thrilled to see a 1-1 start but I wouldn’t bet us straight up in either of those games.

    • Dawgwalker07

      I see LSU going to the Dome next year. I don’t see how Alabama can improve their season with losing the talent they are.

  6. Toom

    Crazy! Has there ever been a bigger UGA / USC game? For us anyway. We always talk about how big it is for us to ‘get by’ Carolina and how big it would be for them to ‘knock off’ UGA. 2011, the roles will be reversed.

    • sUGArdaddy

      That could work in our favore in a major way. I thought the same thing in 2009. After losing in Stillwater, we had to win that game. Looking back, you can see how much our offense played out of their minds that game…because they had to. We couldn’t lose that game.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Bubba, we only won that game by the tip of Rennie Curran’s finger. It was a great play by a great player but there was a lot of luck, too. The team played hard but don’t read anything more into it. The team really had to win the Arkansas game last season after getting dusted by USCe. How well did that one work out? Miss State, too (the team really needed to win that one after losses to USCe and Arkansas). And of course, the Colorado game was one that they sorta really needed, too. And they really needed to beat Florida last season–would have still been in contention for the SEC East in spite of all the problems. This “we will not be denied” BS is a little nonsensical coming from someone who usually makes a lot of sense.

  7. Bulldog Joe

    If we don’t find some hard-asses on this coaching staff or allow them to be hard-asses, the schedule won’t matter.

    We are witnessing Mike Shula II.

  8. thewhiteshark

    I think it’s doable. Just have to win the close ones. I don’t buy the mantra that some in other places are spouting that Boise, USC and Miss State are automatic losses. Despite the record and the egg laid at the end this was a better football team than last year. It just didn’t show up on the scoreboard. I think it will next year. I’m expecting another jump in improvement for the defense. Whether that happens or not will tell the tale.

    • Gary

      The Boise St. game is starting to look alot like the first Chick Fil A classic in 2008 when Alabama torched a highly touted Clemson team. I say keep letting everyone write off the Dawgs because that will allow them to be more focused going into that game.

      The SC game is what is scary. If the Dawgs play like they normally do under Richt in a national exposure game to kick off the season and win, the next week they will play like a team tired and uninspired. Just remember the 03, 05, and 07 openers and how close those games were the next week.

  9. W Cobb Dawg

    We need a catchy name. “Dream schedule” just doesn’t cut it.

  10. 69Dawg

    It great to hear all of the whistling by the graveyard. I have gone from a glass half full kind of guy to the dark side. This team and coach have shown me nothing in the last two years that give me any hope at all that next year won’t be another train wreck. College kids do not come with on and off switches. If Coach T can get this bunch of underachievers to play like their heads are on fire then I will have found a new UGA football hero. Coach Richt can’t change his attitude with the kids because they will see right through him. Acting fired up when he has been a man in a coma for years will not get them going. Coach T has always been crazy and now he is in charge so the kids know what they are in for and that he’s not joking.

    Anyway I’ll wait and see thank you but don’t let me stop the glass half full guys from trying to find the pony under this pile of horse dung.

    • Bulldog Joe

      Having this type of motivator in the weight room will help.

      However, if we don’t have it or allow it on the field, we will continue to see the same results.

  11. anon

    This looking ahead crap is precisely what led us to 6-7. Or 7-6, if you’re consulting awards given out by the staff at the Senior Gala.

    We are in absolutely no position to worry about any game other than the next one on our schedule.

  12. Mike

    Senator, while it is indeed true that Georgia has a bye week before the Florida game, it is equally true that Florida has that same week off.
    :wink:

  13. Jim

    Have we already forgotten the freaking bowl game where we just shat the bed? Let’s be realistic – there is no reason to believe we will have a better record next year than we did this year.

    In fact the trend line, coaching, recruiting, and losing our two best players to the NFL would suggest we could be worse. Instead of theorizing a paper mnc after not being able to score a td against a cusa opponent let’s call this season what I expect it will be – a courtesy to a lame duck coaching staff. This time next year we’ll be second guessing why mcgarity gave richt the 2011 season and bemoaning the recruits that got away. Kirby smart will be head coach and we’ll have newfound optimism on the future.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Wait a minute! USCe shat the bed in their bowl in ’09 and came back to win the SEC East this past season. Each season is different and each year’s team is different. There is no reason why the Dawgs cannot have a good year next season, maybe even win the SEC. And if the season does go into the crapper as you predict I sure hope the new guy will be a HC with a proven track record, not an unknown quantity like Kirby Smart. We still don’t know if he actually can coach defense–or is it really Saban calling the defensive shots? I don’t want newfound optimism–I want a coach and a team that wins.

      • DamnGoodDawg

        And don’t forget about Bama from ’07 to ’08. ’07 they went 7-6 with a new 3-4 defense installed. ’08 they went undefeated in the regular season and lost their last two in the SEC champ. and the sugar bowl. Then came back undefeated AGAIN the next year, and won it all. Not saying thats whats going to happen here, but it does give kind of an optimistic veiw.

        • Jim

          The one piece you guys are failing to consider is COACHING. Saban and Spurrier have it. Richt doesn’t.

          I’m not saying i want smart as coach, but I don’t think we will be able to attract a HC with a proven track record (we never have before, why would we be able to now)? I have as many questions as the next guy about smart’s abilities, but that is where this is headed.

          Let me go ahead and call it for you homers – i predict 5-7 season, richt is fired monday after loss to georgia tech, we are rumored to be turned down by a couple of big name coaches and hire smart shortly thereafter. Smart KEEPS Bobo on staff…

          Senator, please mark this post so we can look at it this time next year

  14. uglydawg

    I feel good about this year.
    Georgia has had talent but hasn’t had motivation. Things are changing.
    UGA is now the team that has to prove itself.
    CMR is the coach who has to prove himself.
    Boise St will be facing a determined, tough SEC team. Boise is losing a lot of talent off of what was a pretty good but greatly overhyped team the last couple of years.
    I used to complain that Georgia is missing something; something they haven’t had since ERK left, and that is a killer instinct.
    It’s coming back in 2011.
    If you’re familiar with my posting history on the ABH and recently here, you know I’m no wild eyed optimist, but something is going on in Athens that UGA fans are going to like.
    I’m not claiming that the Dawgs are going to win the NC, or even the SEC, but they are going to be better…a lot better….
    They will be motivated and exciting to watch. …
    CMR will not have to pretend to have a new attitude and philosophy
    because he honestly will have it.
    He really can’t have it any other way.
    The Dawgs will be a hot team this year. I believe that.

    .

    • Jim

      Hope you are right. Have you been watching the same team the last few years as me? There is nothing I’ve seen that would suggest what you are saying is true. Nothing would make me happier than to be wrong though.