The SEC officially announced Thursday afternoon that the league will play a conference-only schedule in 2020. The conference athletic directors and presidents met virtually on Thursday, and ultimately made the decision to go ahead and play a 10-game season with only conferences games. This means that UGA will not play its annual matchup against in-state rival Georgia Tech this upcoming season.
That’s going to mean different things for other SEC programs, but how will it really affect the Bulldogs? Per my prediction, is that it won’t really change much.
This will be the first time since 1924 that UGA hasn’t played the Yellow Jackets, which is astounding. But the Bulldogs aren’t the only other SEC school affected by this decision. There are several other SEC schools that play in-state rivals that are ACC programs every year; that list includes Kentucky (Louisville), South Carolina (Clemson) and Florida (Florida State). Georgia also loses their home opener against another ACC school in Virginia, which is a game that the Bulldogs were favored to win by several scores. UGA also loses games against East Tennessee State and Louisiana-Monroe.
The early assumptions is that UGA will add Arkansas and Mississippi State as the two opponents that would move the conference slate up to 10 games. Although, it hasn’t been made official yet. The Bulldogs ultimately lose Virginia, ETSU, and ULM while adding a pair of bottom third SEC programs. Virginia is predicted to better than either of those SEC programs, so the schedule gets a little easier. Then both Arkansas and MSU are projected to better than the two smaller programs, so that just makes the slate a little tougher.
The Razorbacks are coming off a 2-10 season while MSU went 6-7. Both programs fired their coaches last season and are both going to be underdogs if they face UGA. It’s more than likely that UGA will travel to Starkville, Miss., which adds another road game to the schedule. The last time UGA made that trip was in 2010 when they lost 24-12. If the Bulldogs have to travel to Arkansas as well, then it shouldn’t be much of a challenge either.
So, UGA would play Alabama and Mississippi State from the SEC West on the road and Auburn and Arkansas from the SEC West at home. Plus, they would also have their six SEC East games.
Florida is projected to add Texas A&M and Alabama while South Carolina is projected to add Auburn and Tennessee. In that case, UGA is in a great position to possibly head back to Atlanta for a fourth straight year.