Schedule debate hangs over Georgia football team

dshirley@macon.comAugust 31, 2012 

It’s interesting and almost laughable to hear Steve Spurrier accuse another head coach of being too chatty.

But Spurrier did just that going into South Carolina’s game with Vanderbilt on Thursday night. Spurrier didn’t seem to like that Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin had plenty to say leading up to that game.

Spurrier, on the other hand, did most of his talking this offseason about the Georgia Bulldogs and their schedule.

Spurrier just hasn’t been able to help himself; he can’t seem to stop bringing up Georgia’s schedule. Spurrier was so bothered by the Bulldogs’ schedule that he proposed that the SEC change the way it determines its division champions, deciding the two spots in the SEC title game by division games alone and not conference games in general.

Even after that was shot down by most of the rest of the conference, Spurrier kept talking and talking.

Granted, Spurrier’s discontent is understandable. His team defeated Georgia last year and won all of its other East Division games only to see Georgia play in the conference championship game because South Carolina played a tougher West schedule. Spurrier’s angst is made more intense by the fact that the strength of schedule factor is again in Georgia’s favor this season.

While South Carolina’s West opponents are LSU (on the road) and Arkansas (in Columbia), Georgia hosts Mississippi and plays at Auburn. South Carolina does have a tough schedule, and Georgia’s appears, on paper, to be more manageable, and that has bothered Spurrier and most Gamecocks fans since last season.

But really, they need to focus on something else, mainly their terrific team, and not worry so much about Georgia until the two teams face off later in the season. South Carolina has a chance to have a special season, and what Georgia does or doesn’t do because of the teams it plays won’t diminish what the Gamecocks accomplish this year.

The discussion about Georgia’s schedule, however, even reaches to its games outside of the SEC.

Buffalo, Florida Atlantic and Georgia Southern don’t exactly add up to the toughest non-conference schedule in the nation. Georgia Tech, in the annual rivalry game at the end of the season, revs things up a bit, but there’s a long way to go and a lot of games to be played between now and the regular-season finale.

The games will determine if all the talk about Georgia’s schedule was on point or just a lot of hot air. Sadly, that talk will continue throughout the entire season, but it really has no true effect on anything. The Bulldogs, Gamecocks and all the other teams in the East have to just play the games in front of them and see what happens at the end of the season.

Yes, the disparity is easy to see, but it’s also tiring to continue to talk about. At least now we have games to focus on instead, and the teams can do their talking on the field.

Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or dshirley@macon.com.

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