Data Behind Why We Should Stop Complaining About Georgia's Schedule

When Georgia's 2023 schedule was announced, the collective groans from college football fandom could be heard far and wide. We all want to see the best play against the best. But there's a lot of data that proves Georgia does too.

First, let's look at the schedule:

  • UT Martin
  • Ball State
  • South Carolina
  • UAB
  • Auburn
  • Kentucky
  • Vanderbilt
  • Florida
  • Missouri
  • Ole Miss
  • Tennessee
  • Georgia Tech

At first glance, this schedule looks like it has more cupcakes than your typical Bee's Knees Bakery order. And let's just get this out of the way:

Georgia's 2023 schedule is probably pretty easy

It's not their fault

We always say scheduling is far more about intent than it is about who you play. Out of conference games are often scheduled a decade in advance. It's impossible to know exactly how good a given team is going to be in that year.

So the best of the scheduling teams: Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas, Oklahoma, USC, Alabama, Oregon and others, go out of their way to schedule name brand opponents.

No team does this better than Georgia, especially when you consider they already have an annual non-conference Power 5 annual opponent in Georgia Tech - an important point we'll visit later.

Here's some recent teams Georgia has scheduled out of conference:

  • 2023 - Oklahoma
  • 2022 - Oregon
  • 2021 - Clemson
  • 2019 - Notre Dame
  • 2017 - Notre Dame
  • 2016 - North Carolina
  • 2014 - Clemson
  • 2013 - Clemson

Why the Oklahoma Game Was Canceled

Alabama and Texas scheduled a home and home about the same time Oklahoma and Georgia scheduled theirs.

Then came conference realignment.

With Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC in 2024, the second game in the series would technically be a conference game, which messes everything up, including who has tv/advertising rights. Since the home-and-home contract couldn't be satisfied by playing only one of the two games, the SEC forced Georgia/Oklahoma to cancel the series.

But intent matters. Neither Georgia nor Oklahoma were trying to schedule an easy win.

Even When Georgia Schedules Well, They Get Little Credit

Let me take you back to a distant time of yore, the year was...2022. Oregon, a team who also deserves credit for scheduling big OOC, got humbled by Georgia 49-3.

As someone who argues with college football fans professionally, I can tell you from experience that this win for Georgia was summarily discounted. "It was week one" and "Oregon just sucks" were comments desperately trying to minimize Georgia's win.

The irony is, Georgia beat Oregon so comfortably, that Georgia not only got no credit for scheduling Oregon, they got no credit for the win against a 9 win P5 opponent. Had Georgia struggled in a 27-23 type win, they'd probably received more credit. Wild.

The Georgia Tech Problem

Now we arrive at the main course. Georgia gets absolutely zero credit for playing Georgia Tech every year. This, of course, is an out of conference Power 5 opponent.

The fact that Tech hasn't been good for over a decade isn't Georgia's fault.

But the bigger issue, and this is key, ACC teams playing Georgia Tech or teams with conference foes as bad as Georgia tech, get to claim those wins as "P5 conference wins" while Georgia may as well have played a directional school from Vermont.

SEC teams, including Georgia, get hit with the "8 conference games" criticism from teams who get to claim a 9th conference opponent against Rutgers, against Colorado, against Kansas. But how is playing 9 P5 opponents, and they're all in conference differ from playing 8 SEC opponents and 1 ACC opponent?

Where Georgia Fans Get It Wrong

One thing we've noticed Georgia fans doing on the socials is to tout last year's #8 SOS rating or the fact that they played 9 "bowl teams." Two quick points:

SOS ratings from after the season is over are highly misleading. They include 3 games that weren't part of the original schedule (SECCG and 2 playoff games). This is how TCU managed to get the #4 Strength of Schedule, when nobody believes they play the 4th toughest schedule.

The "opponents who played in a bowl" metric is similar to the Sagarin SOS: schedule strength based on how hard it is to go .500 against your schedule. But elite teams are measured against an SOS that determines how hard it is to go undefeated against their schedule. It's a crafty sleight of hand, but certainly a point worth noting.

Regardless, the UGA schedule criticisms are wild considering Georgia has gone out of their way to make their schedule harder than they have to - so they can face the best competition. They can't help the SEC east is down, Tech isn't very good, and that the SEC forced them to cancel.

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