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Blog: How the Bulldogs’ nonconference schedule got its bite in recent years

The Southeastern Conference’s edict that league schools must play one game each year against the other five power conference schools in future schedules has Georgia getting major props for its nonconference schedules in recent years.

ESPN’s Ivan Maisel noted Georgia has played 15 nonconference games “against teams from the other equity conferences over the last eight years.”

Matt Stevens, a beat writer who covers Mississippi State, did the homework to show that Georgia has played 11 games against power conference schools since 2008, the most in the SEC. Besides six with Georgia Tech, that includes two with Arizona State and one with Oklahoma State, Colorado and Clemson.

Who should get credit for putting that kind of teeth in Georgia’s schedule? That would be former UGA athletic director Damon Evans, who wanted to grow Georgia’s profile outside the region.

Mark Richt said as much in an interview Monday with Frank Frangie, a radio host in Jacksonville, without mentioning Evans name when he was asked about Georgia opening up with Clemson and South Carolina this year.

“I don’t even remember how this thing happened,” Richt said. “We made a decision at Georgia. ….We said when we go to this 12th game we’re going to add another BCS opponent, mostly somewhere out of the Southeast region. So the Arizona States we played and the Oklahoma States we played, and we did a little bit of that kind of thing and we also, Clemson got put in during that time. It was still another BCS opponent out of our league.”

Former associate AD Arthur Johnson, who scheduled games years down the road, said in 2008:

“I can tell you with Clemson in ’13 and ’14, you just don’t have any feel how they’re going to be just like they don’t know how we’re going to be.”

Georgia at the time was preseason ranked No. 1 and Clemson was coming off a 9-4 season.

Georgia’s 2015 nonconference schedule won’t excite anyone. There are home games with Southern, Louisiana-Monroe and Georgia Southern and the annual game with Georgia Tech is in Atlanta.

Schedules beyond that have plenty of work to do and there could be a series with the likes of Notre Dame or a neutral site game added.

“Periodically, it’s good to play these kind of nonconference games,” Georgia AD Greg McGarity said a few weeks back about Notre Dame. “Whenever we schedule a game whether it’s them or someone else, it’s just periodic in nature. Does that mean every three or four years? I don’t know. It’s just what feels right and what’s best for our program.”

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