Not back yet entirely, still having computer issues. But had one (and another in a day or so) off-season football post I needed to get out there before the... y'know... season started.
So a ton of time is spent among college football bloggers comparing member sizes and whatnot over schedules. Much handwringing and lecturing goes on about it. I commented about scheduling a while ago here. I made this blanket statement in comments at CFR:
I think most teams should follow a 7 home games one year / 6 the next system and
schedule better opponents - at home and away.
I stand by it. I also stand by this statement, made way back when discussing Kyle King's push for Michigan-Georgia (and I'm kind of cherry picking for space purposes, so go ahead and read the whole post if you want reasoning):
...ideally, I'd like to have home and home games against both Clemson and
Georgia Tech (when we're at home against one, we travel to the other), play one
home game against a mediocre to decent team (Conference USA teams, not Sun Belt
or 1-AA schools), and play one other decent to excellent team (Colorado,
Louisville, up to Michigan)...
[Then I say why the ideal is impossible because of the neutral game in Jacksonville and because major programs will set the market at at least 13 or 14 home games over 2 years, not 12 or fewer]
...My suggestion would be that we play Clemson 6 out of every 10 years (3 home,
3 away), and for the four years in every decade when we do not play Clemson, we
substitute for the Tigers a top quality opponent (by that, I mean an
upper-echelon BCS conference team - like Michigan).
[Basically, I say we should play Tech every year H/H, Clemson or a good to great BCS team H/H every year, and two other home OOC games - I think the math works out for a 7/6 home game system under current scheduling, but if it doesn't make sense, well...]
But, aside from the list of good programs at the bottom of my above cited post, I think I should go on record as to what teams Georgia should be scheduling to fill those OOC games?
Of course, the rivalry with Georgia Tech should remain home and home. Clemson is our closest (as the crow flies) rival, and we've played Clemson 62 times, which is our 6th most frequently played opponent (according to CFBDB, and without respect to disputes over WWI and WWII games, Auburn is at 109, Tech at 100, Florida 83, Vandy 66, Alabama 63, [Clemson], Kentucky 59, South Carolina 58, Ole Miss 41, Tennessee 35). I think 4 or 6 times out of 10 games would be fine. I said top teams would be great in the Michigan post, mainly because I'd love to have the excitement of a big game - it'd make the ticket prices easier to pay and would just get us all fired up.
But then I thought about another motivation for scheduling, and one that fits within current scheduling scenarios.
I can't remember where, but I remember reading a story about how there are only 5 teams in history that Notre Dame has played but not beaten - University of Chicago, Indianapolis Light Artillery, Oregon State, NC State and Georgia. It got me thinking that Notre Dame fans probably don't like that statistic. They'd probably prefer to say "If we've played them, we've beaten them."
And as a Dawg fan, I think I'd like to say the same thing. I'm tired of looking at the media guide and seeing that there are teams that Georgia has never beaten. That zero in the
CATEGORY I: Not gonna happen
It is unfortunate, but there are three teams Georgia has never beaten that, for at least the foreseeable future, the Dawgs won't have a chance to make right.
St. Mary's College (CA): The Dawgs didn't lose to the Gaels, but they didn't beat them either. In 1950 in San Francisco, Georgia tied St. Mary's 7-7. This was a pretty weak result, and one the Dawgs should've been embarrassed by. Georgia ended up going 6-3-3 that year and played in the Presidential Cup Bowl. St. Mary's, on the other hand, only went 2-7-1 and the Gaels weren't even officially classified as Division I (when the NCAA eventually classified SMC, they began at D-III). A poor result for the Dawgs, who must've been enjoying the good times in San Francisco too much. Sadly, that draw will likely forever remain on the record books. St. Mary's College discontinued their football program in 2003. In the 1990s, they moved up from D-II to 1-AA. The Gaels weren't that terrible, posting an 8-2 mark in 1995 and a few seasons around .500. In 2003, when the axe dropped, the Gaels went 1-11. Perhaps someday St. Mary's will return to the gridiron, but probably not at a level where Georgia could possibly schedule them. The 1950 Draw and the 0 in the win column will probably remain there forever.
Cumberland College/University (TN): This is an embarrassing stain on Georgia's all time record. Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee is a school plenty of college football historians recall almost automatically because of their ignominious place in the history books. Cumberland College suffered the worst defeat in college football history in 1916, a 222-0 defeat by, yes, those Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets coached by John Heisman (an aside, I have to say it's kind of dickish for GT and Heisman to have forced Cumberland to even play that game when the school had discontinued the football program before the season). The Cumberland team that lost to Tech in 1916 was a former team manager and his Kappa Sig brothers. The Cumberland Bulldogs that defeated Georgia in 1905 in Athens by a score of 39-10 was an actual varsity team. Nonetheless, it appears pretty shameful that the example of Georgia Tech's all time historic dominance (one game against amateurs who didn't want to play to begin with) also coincides with a team that Georgia never could beat. It appears pretty clear that Cumberland dropped football in 1916, but I can't seem to find out when they brought it back. In any event, Cumberland's current football team is not the kind of team Georgia should be considering, even for revenge reasons. Cumberland currently plays in the Mid-South Conference of the NAIA. Last year they went 2-8. I'd love to have the Dawgs erase that blemish in the record book, but scheduling an NAIA team wouldn't look too good. Perhaps if Georgia still had a JV team???
University of Chicago: The defeat suffered by Georgia to Chicago is one I can actually swallow. I mean, even Notre Dame never beat the Maroons, right? The University of Chicago was actually a powerhouse in football in the early part of the 20th century. They were one of the original members of the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives, which was also known as the Western Conference, and which for many decades was informally known as the Big 10 Conference (only officially in 1987). From 1892 to 1932 the Maroons were coached by the legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg, whose name still graces the field (and where the first nuclear reaction took place). In 1935, Chicago halfback Jay Berwanger was the first recipient of the Heisman Trophy, and the following year he was the first ever pick in the first ever NFL Draft (though he never played professionally). Chicago definitely had a great tradition in football in the early days, so the 20-0 loss by Georgia in 1922 shouldn't be too upsetting. That 1922 Chicago team went 5-1-1, while the Georgia team, coached by Stegeman, went 5-4-1. In 1939, the University of Chicago discontinued their football program, choosing to emphasize academics instead. In 1969, alumni and students returned football to Chicago and the Maroons have played in Division III since 1973. They didn't have a winning season until 1985, but have played a little better recently, winning their conference last year. Still, if Georgia takes grief from fans, writers and pollsters for scheduling 1-AA teams, they really can't schedule a D-III team. Not too worrisome for me though.
CATEGORY II: Well, If We're Gonna Schedule Scrubs Anyway...
I'm not very happy that Georgia schedules Division 1-AA opponents. It's not all that frequent (only 3 times in the last 10 years, 4 if you count Western Kentucky this year, and two of them were pretty good Georgia Southern teams where there was significant in-state pressure to schedule... but enough excuses), but it still should be avoided at all costs. But in the event that the Dawgs can't find a 1-A opponent and are scrambling to fill a date with anyone, regardless of division, why not pull up a 1-AA opponent with whom Georgia has a score to settle?
Fordham University: Like the situation with St. Mary's, Georgia has never beaten Fordham, but they also haven't lost to them. In 1936, Georgia traveled to New York City to play the Rams and left with a 7-7 tie. Now, to most Southern fans of the sport, this would seem an embarrassment. But shall we look a little deeper? Fordham was actually a pretty major power in early football. In fact, when counting Division 1 and 1-AA wins, Fordham ranks 15th all time, with 722 according to the NCAA (ahead of Georgia, believe it or not), and that should be a little more impressive considering that Fordham scrapped its program in 1954 and didn't return until 1970. In the first half of the 20th century, Fordham was one of the better teams in the country - so popular that the NFL franchise the Cleveland Rams (later the LA Rams, now the St. Louis Rams) supposedly took their name from Fordham. And it just so happens that the 1936 team Georgia played was considered one of the best Fordham teams of all time (surpassed only by the 1937 team). The 1936 team's strength was the O line, which featured All-American tackle Ed Franco and future NFL All-Pro Center Alex Wojciechowicz. The line was called the "Seven Blocks of Granite" and it also featured another senior lineman who turned out to be pretty important to the game of football - a guy named Vince Lombardi. The 1936 Georgia team ended up 5-4-1, while the Fordham team ended up 5-1-2. The result in that game was actually pretty decent for the Dawgs. Fordham did drop football for a while, but returned to Division 1-AA in 1989. They play in the Patriot League, along with Bucknell, Colgate, Georgetown, Lafayette, Lehigh and Holy Cross. While by no means a powerhouse, Fordham did advance to the 1-AA playoffs in 2002. They'd be a pretty weak opponent for the Dawgs to schedule (weaker than Western Ky or Ga. Southern), and I don't consider that tie (some probably considered it a moral victory) too bad a mark on the record. So for now, Fordham, we've got bigger fish to fry.
Harvard University: In 1921 the Dawgs fell 10-7 to the Crimson in Cambridge. That Harvard team ended up 7-2-1, but was coming off pieces of the National Title in 1919 and 1920. Georgia also ended up 7-2-1 that year. Harvard was a strong football team in the early days, winning at least a share of 7 (or maybe 8) national titles. In 1982 Harvard and the rest of the Ivy League dropped down to Division 1-AA. Lately they've been getting better, winning 2 of the last 5 Ivy League titles. If Harvard were to agree to play a 1-A opponent (they haven't since 1991, when they played Army) Harvard wouldn't be a terrible opponent for Georgia (if forced to settle for a 1-AA opponent) because (a) they aren't completely terrible; (b) revenge for the 1921 game - and we never got the return end of a Home/Home; but most importantly (c) because it is Georgia's ancestral tradition to hate and beat Harvard whenever possible. As most Dawg fans know, the University of Georgia's founder, Abraham Baldwin, was a graduate of Yale University and attempted to model UGA after Yale. Yale was the first guest of the Bulldogs in Sanford Stadium. And above all else, the English Bulldog mascot itself is modeled after Handsome Dan, the Elis' mascot. It is in our blood to hate Harvard, and that perfect record Harvard has against Georgia must be corrected. Bring on the Crimson!
College of the Holy Cross: No team has owned Georgia more than Holy Cross. Probably the first and last time that sentence will ever be written. But it's true: Holy Cross is 3-0-0 against the Dawgs, as good a record as anyone has ever had. And unlike most matchups, this one was actually played on level playing fields. The first matchup was in 1937 on a neutral field (sort of) in Boston. Holy Cross won 7-6, and that team went on to go undefeated 8-0-2 while the Dawgs went 6-3-2 in Harry Mehre's last season. In 1938, the teams met on the Crusaders' home field in Worcester, but Holy Cross swamped the Dawgs, 29-6 en route to a 8-1 season. In 1939 the teams met in Athens, where the Dawgs should've had an advantage. But it wasn't to be, as Holy Cross won that one 13-0 in Wally Butts's first season between the hedges. Holy Cross ended up 7-2, Georgia ended up 5-6. These three games seem to have taken place in a lull for Georgia football, but at the same time as a Golden Era of Holy Cross football. Indeed, only the late 1980s-early 1990s (with "Heisman Candidate" Gordie Lockbaum) even come close to the mid 1930s for the Crusaders' on-field success. Sort of a shame for the Dawgs. Holy Cross plays in the Patriot League alongside Fordham, but hasn't had much success lately. Holy Cross has scheduled 1-A opponents recently (Army in 2002), so they might be willing to come on down if we were pressed to find a 1-AA opponent. The problem is that they aren't very good. Revenge is a good enough reason for me. Also, if Holy Cross were to play Georgia, maybe we could get Bill Simmons on down to Athens for the game and maybe he'd finally see what he's been missing out on by focusing so much on pro sports. Bring 'em on!
CATEGORY III: We Could Probably Get These Teams Without a Return Game
Miami University (OH): What is this? A MAC team that has dominated the Dawgs? Well, yes, it appears that way. The Dawgs and the erstwhile Redskins met in the Tangerine Bowl in 1974. Georgia was a mediocre 6-5 going into the game, while Miami was going into the game on a 22 game unbeaten streak. Miami won 21-10, the second of their three straight Tangerine Bowl wins (each against teams now in the SEC East, interestingly enough). So one of the worst teams of the Dooley Era loses to one of the best teams in MAC history. Not that big a deal (and Kyle King discussed further here). At the same time, I think Miami would be a pretty good OOC opponent. They've had success recently, probably wouldn't demand a return date (a 2-for-1 at worst) and they're a team, like Boise State last year, that would probably enjoy a trip down south. As strange as it seems, I actually knew about 10 people from my high school in Atlanta who went to Miami, and most came back. This would be a good matchup - at least as good as the Cincinnati matchup on the future schedule for the Dawgs. Let's bring them on down and correct that blemish on our all-time record.
United States Naval Academy: Navy owes the Dawgs a home game. Georgia and Navy have played twice before, with Navy winning them both. In 1916 in Annapolis, Navy beat Georgia 27-3. Navy finished that year 6-3-1, while the Dawgs finished 6-3. In 1957, at a "neutral" site in Norfolk, VA, Navy beat Georgia 27-14. That year Navy finished 9-1-1 and beat Rice in the Cotton Bowl, while Georgia limped to a 3-7 mark. Navy owes us a home game, by my count. I think an OOC game against Navy would be a very well received game in Athens. Georgia has several naval installations, and a home football game is the least the Navy can give Athens after taking away the Supply School from Normaltown. Plus, the head coach at Navy has ties to Georgia, since Paul Johnson arrived at the Academy from Georgia Southern. In fact, Johnson has coached between the hedges before, in his National Championship 2000 season at Southern. This is a realistic matchup, would provide an interesting game (Navy's option is fun as hell to watch) and a chance to have revenge on a team that has owned us. Bringing Navy to Athens should be a top priority.
Rice University: Originally, I wasn't all that surpised to see that Georgia had never beaten the Owls of Rice, since Rice has a decent tradition of football back in the day when oil money could buy a solid lineup. But the year Georgia played Rice wasn't one of those times. And Georgia had the home field advantage. 1936, Rice came to Athens and beat the Dawgs 13-7. Georgia went on to go 5-4-1 (that's the same year we tied the big boys at Fordham). Rice went 5-7. Rice's only other wins that year were Texas A&M-Kingsville, Sam Houston State, George Washington and a 2-6-1 Texas team. We got beat on our own field by a weak team from Rice? That will not stand. Rice now plays in the OOC-friendly Conference USA Western Division. I think Georgia has an eye for making inroads into Texas for recruiting, and the Dawgs have played Houston and Texas Tech OOC recently. This seems like a pretty reasonable matchup.
CATEGORY IV: We'd Need a Home/Home, but a Decent or Respectable Opponent
These are teams that I'd categorize along with Colorado, Arizona State, Oregon State, or any of the other solid programs that Georgia should be scheduling. Going back to the introduction, I'd consider these teams a decent matchup instead of home/homes with Clemson.
University of Arizona: This team belongs in a category with Fordham and St. Mary's, since we didn't lose to Arizona, we just didn't beat them. This was the 1985 Sun Bowl and it finished in a 13-13 tie. The teams were relatively even, as Arizona finished 8-3-1 and the Dawgs at 7-3-2. It was the third tie in Sun Bowl history. Arizona has had some hard luck lately, as it sure appears like John Mackovic really put a hurt on the program. At the same time, Arizona seems to be a program on the rise. Georgia has already agreed to home/homes with Arizona State and the Oregon teams, so there probably wouldn't be reluctance to schedule Arizona. And Arizona plays LSU this year, so they're not afraid of the SEC. Set it up, so we can take their name off the list, Damon.
University of Pittsburgh: Of all the teams we've never beaten, Pittsburgh is probably the one that we most need to take care of. Two of the Dawgs' losses to Pittsburgh were in big, national title affecting games. Pitt is 3-0-1 against Georgia. The first one was a 7-7 tie in Athens in 1973. Georgia ended up at 7-3-1, Pitt at 6-4-1, but with a star freshman running back named Tony Dorsett. Two years later, Pitt beat Georgia 19-9 in Athens, led by Dorsett. As if Georgia hadn't had enough of Dorsett, Pitt again pounded on the famous
Stanford University: This was close, as I thought seriously about putting the Cardinal in Category III. I don't think Stanford would come all the way down to Athens without a return game (though maybe a 2-for-1). Georgia and Stanford met in the 1978 Bluebonnet Bowl, with Stanford winning 25-23. This was Bill Walsh's last game before heading off to coach the 49ers to Super Bowl wins. Georgia wasn't too bad that year either, going 9-2-1. This win showed how talented a coach Walsh was, and the good seasons on the Farm led the way for a top recruit named John Elway, who arrived the next fall. Not the worst loss Georgia has ever suffered, but... I mean... come on! This is Stanford! You're telling me that the University of Georgia has never beaten Rice or Stanford or Chicago or Harvard???!!!! We've made a living out of pounding the nerds from Tech, but we can't beat these Ivory Towers? Why do I feel like Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds right now? Come on. Invite Stanford on down. Lord knows, we'd get good coverage from Ivan Maisel. Let's pound them and get back our manhood these nerds have taken.
Syracuse University: Yes, they sucked royally last year, but Syracuse actually has a very good tradition, and they have played quality football over the years. The one game between Syracuse and Georgia was in the 1989 Peach Bowl, and Syracuse won 19-18 with a 26-yard FG with 25 seconds to go. This was Ray Goff's first season with the Dawgs, which finished at a perfectly and appropriately mediocre 6-6. A close game, but it's still a loss. And that 0 in the win column must be filled. Syracuse has come south plenty of times recently (Auburn, FSU, Tennessee, UNC, etc...) and probably wouldn't mind coming back. Georgia could expand their national appeal with a game in the NYC market, and might draw some attention from the provincials in Bristol. This could be a good matchup. Make it happen. Let's get revenge.
West Virginia University: Yes, the last game the Dawgs played adds the couchburners to the list. 38-35 loss in the Atlanta Sugar Bowl was the only time Georgia and West Virginia faced off. It might be too soon to want a revenge game scheduled, as we all know revenge is a dish best served cold. I also seem to remember Kyle King wanting to schedule another game against WVU, to get the taste out of his mouth or something, but I can't find the link. Hopefully, we'll face off against the Mountaineers in another BCS bowl this year or something. If not, we should go ahead and set something up with them for down the road anyway. West Virginia fans are excitable and eager to cheer their team. Their team appears to be on the upswing. They'd be an attractive matchup if they stay good, but at the same time, there isn't that much talent in the state - they might be a team whose reputation is better than the roster by that time. I could be wrong though, but to me it seems like WVU is great about once every 15 years or so, and decent to pretty good the rest of the time. Set them on the calendar way down the road.
CATEGORY V: Clashes of the Titans, as in We'd Need ESPN/ABC's Help to Set This Up
There are three more teams that Georgia has played but never beaten. These three are among the best traditional programs in the country. If we played any of them, under traditional circumstances, it'd be a Gameday-is-coming event. Each would need a return game, and each would be among the list of "Great Intersectional Games" the national writers love to harp on. Each would have the chance to be a "tell the grandkids game" because each of these programs will probably be great 40-50 years from now, just like they were 40-50 years ago.
University of Nebraska: The last 2 years have been mediocre. But let's not get too far down on them. In the 1980s and 1990s, was there any team you'd want to beat more? Maybe Florida State? Nebraska would be an incredible road game. And their fans would love the trek to Athens. This is a game that could have people really fired up, especially once Callahan gets canned and Paul Johnson reintroduces the option to Lincoln. And the Dawgs would have revenge on their minds as well. 1969 was not one of the best Georgia teams of all time, but somehow they got matched up in the Sun Bowl against an 8-2 Nebraska team that shared the Big 8 title. Nebraska wasn't gentle. The 45-6 defeat to the Huskers was and is the worst defeat Georgia has ever suffered in 41 bowl appearances. It was the most points ever given up in a bowl game. Just a total whipping. Revenge is upon us. Mark Richt likely has a fond place in his heart for Nebraska too - his first personal national title was a win over the Huskers in 1993, and his alma mater won their first national title over the Huskers in 1983 (just after Richt left). I think this would be a great matchup down the road. And Nebraska isn't afraid to schedule tough opponents OOC - in recent years they've played Penn State, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Michigan State, Cal, Washington, and this year, USC.
Pennsylvania State University: One of the great programs of the last 40 years, Penn State has only played Georgia once, but what a time that was. In fact, the 1983 Sugar Bowl is my earliest memory of watching a college football game, believe it or not. I recall the situation very precisely - and I was told to root for Penn State because I have an Uncle who went there and was pulling for the Nittany Lions. Undefeated Georgia, with Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker in the backfield met 10-1 Penn State with the National Title on the line. Penn State was led by Todd Blackledge at quarterback and Curt Warner at tailback. The Nittany Lions held Herschel to just over 100 yards, an incredible job for them. The Dawgs came back in the game and cut the deficit to 4 with just under 4 minutes to go. But Penn State held on by converting key 3rd downs. For a while there (pretty much until the recent Ohio State and Texas titles), this was one of the best National Title bowl games of all time. And Georgia needs to right the wrong and make this series level. Penn State and Georgia should have played each other again in 1999 in the Outback Bowl. However, for some moronic and biased reason the bowl officials instead selected a 7-4 Kentucky team that lost to the 8-3 Georgia team. Penn State has opted to come down south for series against Alabama (and I think they have one on the future schedule right now). In recent years, since the Big Ten and SEC have so many bowl matchups, the two conferences have been reluctant to schedule OOC games. Perhaps with some shifting tie-ins, this will change. It's quite possible that Georgia and Penn State could meet in a Citrus Bowl or an Outback Bowl in the next few years. I'd love to see Penn State and Georgia play home and home though. I'd bring my Uncle, and I'd go to Happy Valley too.
University of Southern California: The last of all teams that Georgia has played but never beaten. The holy grail. Also, USC is tied with Holy Cross for beating Georgia 3 times without a tie. Unlike Holy Cross, the USC defeats weren't even close. All three matchups were held in Los Angeles (aside - why won't USC schedule outside their region???). The first game was in 1931. A Georgia team that would end up 8-2 faced off against the inevitable national champion Trojans. It wasn't pretty. USC pounded Georgia 60-0. To date, this is the single worst defeat in the history of Georgia football. Two years later, another Georgia team that would end up 8-2 went to LA and faced a USC team that would end up 10-1-1. USC again pounded Georgia 31-0. Almost 30 years later, Georgia again returned to USC, in 1960. A third time, Georgia left a loser, though this time it was closer, 10-3. Three games, a total score of 101-3. This entire post has been about teams that have owned Georgia and getting back at them. No team has shown complete and unmitigated domination over the Dawgs quite like Southern Cal. Now, there is a reason (definitely not an excuse) perhaps for the third game. USC integrated their roster in the 1950s (sort of - Brice Taylor, a player of African American descent who was born without one hand played for USC in the 1920s and made All American honors, though the team was again all white until the 1950s). Georgia did not until 1971 (after USC whipped Alabama). Again, this is not an excuse, but an unfortunate reason - to think of how good Georgia would've been as an integrated team throughout history is mind blowing. The first two blowouts, however, had no excuse. USC was just simply better. But would they be today? I would have loved to have seen UGA and USC play in 2002, when they finished 3-4 in the final AP poll. I consider USC to be the best program of the decade so far. But I'd also consider Georgia to be right there. In fact, when CFN puts out their program rankings, I expect UGA to be in the top 5 just below USC. USC has come down south recently (Auburn), and I think they would again. A Georgia-USC matchup should be almost as big as Texas-Ohio State. And it could be a great game for bloggers to argue over. And Georgia needs to do something about those three prior games against USC. It is an ugly mark on our all-time record. It's time to fix it. Start a new movement - to get CBS, ABC and ESPN to put together all their resources to set up a home and home OOC matchup between USC and Georgia. Let me guess... the networks would rather have it be Florida... typical..
Anyway, that's my take. I want the Dawgs to be able to say "if we've played you, we've beaten you." I don't want any other team to say that every time they've played Georgia, Georgia hasn't won. Some of these matchups should be no-brainers, like getting Rice or Navy instead of the palooka of the year Directional Louisiana team. Others might take an effort, but would be more interesting than existing matchups, like Pittsburgh or Syracuse instead of Cincinnati. And some would be transcendent, national attention garnering games that if the opportunity presented itself, would just be too good to pass up, like Penn State, Nebraska or USC. To sum up, if all things are equal and we can choose revenge against a team we've never beaten or just another OOC game, I say we go for revenge.
Edited 8/10 for multiple corrections.