A Future Being Developed

A Future Being Developed

ATHENS - The future of college football includes a playoff, but Georgia's scheduling path to get into that playoff is still being developed.

The SEC will continue to play a schedule that is eight games with cross-division rivalries in tact. The rest of Georgia's schedule, however, is in question with the exception of one game.

"Playing Georgia Tech was never in doubt," Georgia AD Greg McGarity said on Wednesday.

But beyond that, McGarity says it will be a challenge to appropeatly plan scheduling considering college football's new championship format.

"No one knows," he said. "Everyone is making assumptions. I think you have to play it out and see how things play out. The SEC model has really worked in the past, and we feel confident it will work in the future."

That means Georgia, like the rest of college football, will be scheduling "blind" so to speak - with no real knowledge of what sort of scheduling it takes to get into the college football playoff. Do SEC teams need to play two BCS out-of-conference foes a year, or is one good enough to get into the playoff? How should the schedule of a team that does not win the SEC be structured in order to also be included in the playoff?

That's impossible to answer right now. But McGarity points out that SEC teams have the liberty to aggressively schedule - if they choose to.

"Teams can schedule four (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12) teams in the future if they want; They can play one, two or three," he said. "But scheduling home games is a huge financial piece of the model - it can't be discounted.

McGarity said the past few years have been at a virtual standstill in terms of scheduling with the SEC's scheduling decision holding up scheduling for 2016 and beyond.

"In the past you couldn't go too far down the road with scheduling. The first order of business is to determine the dates of the SEC games for 2016 and beyond," McGarity said. "Then you can plug in the holes for the future dates. We can't do that right now. That's the next order of business. I am sure there will be a number of proposed schedule we will take a look at in the near future, and we can go from there.

The Bulldogs have been linked to playing Notre Dame in the future, which would certainly bring good exposure for Georgia beyond the South. But McGarity said that future non-conference games won't necessarily be scheduled simply for marketing purposes.

"I think your brand is promoted by being successful in your sports program. We don't have a brand identity problem," he said.

When asked about the possibility of playing an additional neutral-site game (the Bulldogs already play Florida on neutral turf in Jacksonville each year), the Georgia AD didn't rule it out, pointing out Georgia's 2011 season opener at the Georgia Dome, but said he would favor playing a home-and-home series.

"Sure we would look at neutral site games, but our first preference is to play home and home," he said. "I am sure we would look at those options in the future. We would be open to all concepts, but do what would be best for the University of Georgia."

McGarity also said that he would "prefer" to play those neutral site games somewhere in the South or on the east coast.

"I think if we were to play we would want to play in this area for our fans. We want our fans to be able to get there," he said. "But I don't want to be eliminated from opportunities (playing anywhere in the country).

McGarity said what's being left out of the discussion nationally is what should be considered for the players in all of this. He added that no one would want to play 12 SEC games in a year - saying that it would be too much on the players.

"For the student-athleates - I am not so sure they want to play 12 games against SEC opponents each week," he said. "Their voice has not been heard at all. We know they enjoy playing games they are expected to win. That allows SA to play who have never played before. I think that's one thing the media has ignored in all of this. The most important comment in this whole thing are the students."

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