Georgia Football

What We Are Hearing

May 6, 2018
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ATHENS - Georgia and Clemson have met only seven times since 1991 with the Bulldogs winning all but one of those games (2013). 

Now, with both teams likely headed into the 2018 season as top 5 teams, talk is heating up about the two schools meeting during the regular season once more. That hasn't happened since No. 12 Georgia’s 45-21 blowout win over the No. 16 Tigers in 2014. 

It seems pretty clear to me that a game between the Tigers and Bulldogs will be announced in the near future. However, it seems unlikely that an actual meeting would happen before 2021, and even that year some juggling would have to happen on Georgia’s end.  

Here’s why. 

Georgia’s schedule for 2018 is set. In 2019, Georgia is playing both Notre Dame and Georgia Tech out of conference. Clemson won’t be on that schedule as the other two out-of-conference games, Murray State and Arkansas State, have been scheduled. In 2020, Georgia will face Tech, of course, and then Virginia in a Labor Day fight at the Dome to start the season. Louisiana-Monroe is also on the slate, but there is one missing game for the 2020 season remaining. Notre Dame has already announced that it will host Clemson in 2020. 

Dawg Post
UGA cheerleaders during the 2017 season. Dean Legge/Dawg Post

So UGA-Clemson is pretty well impossible in 2020.  

That means the earliest the two old foes could meet is in 2021, but that won’t be a easy to accomplish - more on that in a minute. 

In 2022 and 2023, the Tigers play Notre Dame in back-to-back years. They won’t play USC, UGA and Notre Dame in the same season for a lot of different reasons. 

Skipping ahead to 2024, the two could meet then, too. UGA is scheduled to play UCLA to open the 2025 in Pasadena and to open the 2026 season in Athens, so those years are out from the UGA perspective. 

Two things. 

Georgia has been playing in the Chick-fil-A kickoff game about once every four years (2011, 2016 and 2020). Playing Clemson in a one-off game to start the 2024 season is totally possible In fact, it seems plausible or even probable.

2021 is pretty difficult for Georgia to pull off adding a matchup with Clemson. 

The Tigers have not scheduled a season opener for 2021, but UGA already has San Jose State locked in for Sept. 4, 2021. According to freedom of information requests, buying the Aztecs out of that game would cost UGA $1.8 million - a steep price to get out of a game just to play Clemson at home. A week later UAB comes to town. The Blazers are getting $1.8 million to play that game. No word on how much the buyout for that game might be, but likely in that ballpark. 

So if this is about setting up a Clemson-UGA home-and-home… that just seems like a difficult ask right now. If you jiggled around and were willing to pay out a bunch of money, which UGA is never willing to do, then you could make 2021 and 2024 work. Otherwise a home-and-home would have to start in 2024 and have a return game would have to be in either 2029 or 2030. Clemson and Notre Dame are scheduled to play in 2028 and 2029, so those two years are out. 

Frankly, the easiest path is a one-off at the Dome in 2024 - six season from now. 2021 is also possible.

This, too, also assumes the SEC and ACC remain at eight-game league schedules. A nine-game schedule kills any notion of them playing one another in the confines of the current 12-game college football template. 

And, for the record, for those who want a sexier schedule all of the time for the Dawgs - playing Clemson more often or adding Florida State or Texas - the prospect of that went out the window some time ago… about 1992 when South Carolina joined the SEC and the conference went to an eight-game schedule from a six-game schedule.

Selling out to TV along the way and adding the likes of Missouri only shows the power of money in college sports. That UGA will play Missouri - MISSOURI - more than Alabama, Ole Miss or LSU combined - over the next decade in regular-season games is the reality of today in the league. 

5-star Greyson LB Owen Pappoe’s commitment to Auburn was hardly a shock by the time the event went down last Tuesday. 

The biggest thing here, from what I have been told, is that Georgia is really stacked at linebacker, and Pappoe wants to play soon. That’s the case with many prospects - particularly seems to be the case with the prospects from Greyson who pulled the trigger last week. 

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