Heather Dinich said it on Finebaum’s show. Now she’s posting it at ESPN: Georgia, you’re on notice.
1. Can Georgia overcome a weak nonconference schedule?
Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee, UMass and Georgia Tech — four teams that combined for a 24-24 record last year (including the 8-4 record from FCS Austin Peay) — give the Dawgs little to no wiggle room. Georgia Tech is the only Power 5 nonconference opponent, and the Yellow Jackets finished 5-6 last year.
The importance of strength of schedule is not up for debate within the selection committee meeting room. Alabama earned a spot in the top four last year, but in the committee’s lengthy final deliberations, its game against FCS Mercer was certainly a part of the debate against Ohio State for the fourth spot.
“If you want to be considered for a spot in the college football championship, you need to go out and schedule up,” former selection committee member Tom Jernstedt. “When the bracket is so small, there aren’t many things you can use to separate Team A from Team B, C and D, and someone that can demonstrate that they went out and made a real effort to schedule up, that’s important. If you schedule down and end up undefeated, that should not be rewarded for scheduling down. You constantly encourage people to schedule up so the committee really has something to work with as it goes through its deliberations.”
Georgia faces Florida, a road trip to LSU, and gets Auburn at home. One loss would put it in a precarious playoff position. In 2016, Washington was hammered for its strength of schedule all season. Last year, Wisconsin’s résumé was under the microscope. Now it’s Georgia’s turn.
Again, as someone who thinks our home schedule blows, I’d like to be more sympathetic. But her case would be more honest with the inclusion of the SECCG, as well as noting that ‘Bama has a similar scheduling weakness. In the meantime, she’s got a hammer, if anyone needs one.