Georgia still looking for final 2007 foe

Damon Evans

ATHENS – As of today, Georgia has only 11 games on its 2007 schedule, and athletic director Damon Evans is starting to get anxious.

Anxious enough that he will explore "every option" to add a 12th game, he said Saturday. That means the Bulldogs could play only six homes games or even two I-AA opponents next year.

"We may have to go away," Evans said. "We would prefer to stay at home, but at this late juncture, you have to look out there and see what's available."

Adding a I-AA opponent will be a last resort but will be considered, Evans said. Georgia already is set to play one lower-division opponent (Western Carolina on Sept. 15) next season.

The Bulldogs came close to signing a three-game deal with Oregon State that would have filled next year's vacancy, but the Beavers backed out of the deal two weeks ago.

"We thought we were where we wanted to be," Evans said.

Georgia is making phone calls but hasn't had even preliminary discussions with possible opponents yet.

"Right now, there's nothing in the hopper," Evans said.

Georgia has enlisted the help of ESPN in finding a game. The network is making calls on behalf of the Bulldogs and trying to put together an attractive television matchup.

"ESPN can help us make it more attractive," Evans said. "They have connections, and they know what the landscape is out there."

Georgia has two open dates on its schedule, Sept. 1, which would be the season-opener, and Oct. 20, which is the week before the Florida game.

"That's something we haven't had in a while, and we don't want to give it up if we can help it," Evans said of the open date before the Florida game. "We want to preserve that, but..."

Finding another team with an open date on the same day Georgia has an open date will be difficult this late in the season, Evans said.

"It's almost a process of elimination at this point," he said. "Football scheduling is one of the toughest things to do – to find the right opponent."

This is the latest the Bulldogs have gone without a full schedule since 2001, when Tulane breached a signed contract in October that wiped out a 2002 game. That year, Georgia filled the void with I-AA Northwestern Louisiana State.

There is no timetable to fill the void other than the sooner the better, Evans said.

"I don't know if there's a drop dead date," he said, "but I know ticket orders are going out soon."

Auburn also still is searching for a 12th game next season.

"That makes me feel better," Evans said.

NCAA teams are not required to have 12 games "but we want to play 12," Evans said.

"We'll find somebody," he said.

Evans has talked to both Notre Dame and Michigan about future matchups within the last two months, but both schools declined to enter into discussions.

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