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Blog: Strength of schedule `off the chart’ for Georgia in 2014

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity expects the 2014 football schedule to be released later this month at the Southeastern Conference spring meeting in Destin, Fla.

The remaining SEC West opponent for Georgia is the big reveal.

McGarity said he saw “models” of the ’14 schedule in a meeting of conference athletic directors last week in Jacksonville, but that it’s still under review.

He’s not worried about Georgia’s strength of schedule for the coming four-team playoff.

“From our standpoint, the University of Georgia doesn’t have to worry about that in 2014 because our strength of schedule is already off the chart for the next two years,” McGarity said. “Who knows what the ’15 schedule will be, but we just know that in ’13 and ’14, the strength of schedule is not an issue here in Athens.”

Georgia is playing LSU as its rotating West opponent this year.

McGarity’s “off the chart” comment would seem to indicate Alabama or perhaps Texas A&M will play Georgia in 2014.

“It will be somebody really good, that’s for sure,” he said.

McGarity said he expects an announcement of opponents and even dates in Destin, but an SEC official late last week indicated that Destin would be the earliest the 2014 schedule would come out.

“We have an idea of who we’ll play, but we don’t know when we’ll play,” McGarity said of the rotating cross-divisional opponent in the 6-1-1 format that also includes six division games and the permanent cross-division partner. “We know it will be a road game because Auburn’s coming back here in 2014. Whoever we play on the West side will be a road game. It hasn’t been finalized but Destin is when we’re planning to see everything because we’ve all got to move forward with dates, campus dates, homecoming dates and things like that.”

South Carolina just announced its playing a nonconference game with North Carolina in Charlotte in 2015, but McGarity said he’s not moving forward in lining up additional nonconference opponents to the schedule beyond 2014.

“We’re still talking while we’re getting a model on the eight-game schedule, the nine-game idea is going to be tossed around as we move forward,” he said. “We’re not sure if that will ever happen and if it does, when would it happen? We’ve been so focused on the eight-game schedule for 2014 and maybe ’15, that we really haven’t focused on the nine-game schedule. I know interest is picking up on it. We have not discussed it as athletic directors. We will discuss it at a later time.”

Georgia has nonconference games in 2014 against Clemson, Georgia Tech, South Alabama and Charleston Southern, all at home.

“The key thing for us is seven home games,” he said. “We have six home games coming up (this season). Not having that seventh game is really a financial burden on an institution.”

McGarity said factors that will go into consideration of a nine-game schedule include strength of schedule and what other conferences are doing.

“We probably won’t even discuss a nine-game schedule in Destin,” McGarity said. “It will probably be later on.”

–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marc.weiszer

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