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SEC expert believes Georgia 'won't get deserved credit' for tough schedule

Palmber-Thombsby:Palmer Thombs06/11/24

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SEC schedules have been widely discussed over the past few months with several different television specials to do so. The latest of those occurred on Tuesday with the league announcing game times and/or television windows including a few for Georgia.

One thing stood about the Bulldogs’ slate to the experts on the SEC Network set: the difficulty of the Dawgs’ schedule. Georgia plays three of the SEC’s top squads – Alabama, Texas and Ole Miss – all on the road. UGA kicks off against ACC favorite Clemson in Atlanta and will take on arch-rival Florida in Jacksonville. Marquee matchups at home include those versus Tennessee and Auburn as well as Georgia Tech.

There’s no doubt it’s a tough schedule. ESPN’s FPI has at No. 3 with the only thing holding it back is the Bulldogs’ inability to play themselves. However, if you listen to Cole Cubelic, he’ll tell you it’s not even getting the respect it deserves.

“Their road schedule is just something else. I want to say this about Georgia’s schedule quickly before we get too far into it, and this where things get tricky when we talk schedules. If you take the Georgia logo off this schedule and put just about any other team in college football on it, we’re talking about it the way we talk about Florida’s schedule,” Cubelic said, just moments after he and the crew spent several minutes breaking down the slate for the Gators, saying they might not win one after October 5th. “The reason we don’t is because it’s Georgia and what they’ve been the last three years and how dominant they’ve been and the talent they have. That is a ridiculously tough schedule that they probably will not get the credit for at any point in time this season that they deserve.”

“They are Georgia. They deserve that respect and credit,” Roman Harper added, giving Georgia the benefit of the doubt in the majority of games because of what the Bulldogs have done. “They have earned it, one thing that Florida has not. They (Florida) have earned us to have this opinion about them because they have not won the games we’ve expected them to the last couple of years. You get what you deserve and you are what your record is. That is what we’re forming our opinions on.”

Harper, like Cubelic, looked at the road games for Georgia. He stopped himself before saying the Bulldogs “probably” wouldn’t go undefeated knowing what it is Kirby Smart and company are capable of. However, playing on the road against Alabama, Texas and Ole Miss has his attention.

“Yes, Georgia has a hard schedule, and yes, they probably will not – well, I’m not going to say probably, but it would be a big thing if they get through it unscathed because of the road teams they have to play,” Harper said. “Going to Ole Miss, to Austin where Texas let Alabama out of the gates. They’re not trying to let Georgia out of the gates.”

FULL 2024 GEORGIA SCHEDULE

August 31 – Clemson (Atlanta) – 12:00 p.m. ET (ABC)
September 7 – Tennessee Tech (Athens) – 2:00 p.m. ET (ESPN+/SECN+)
September 14 – Kentucky (Lexington) – 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
September 28 – Alabama (Tuscaloosa) – 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
October 5 – Auburn (Athens) – FLEX
October 12 – Mississippi State (Athens) – FLEx
October 19 – Texas (Austin) – FLEX
November 2 – Florida (Jacksonville) – 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
November 9 – Ole Miss (Oxford) – FLEX
November 16 – Tennessee (Athens) – FLEX
November 23 – UMass (Athens) – 12:45 p.m. ET (SECN)
November 29 – Georgia Tech (Athens) – 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
* FLEX denotes a game kickoff time that’ll be decided at a later date, either in the 3:30-4:30 p.m. ET or 6-8 p.m. ET windows. Television networks and game times will be announced six days prior to kickoff while afternoon or night window is made public 12 days in advance.

Georgia enters the 2024 season as the favorite according to oddsmakers in Las Vegas to bring home a third title in four seasons. Quarterback Carson Beck is a big part of the reason why, being listed by the same oddsmakers as the top candidate for the Heisman Trophy. He’ll have weapons to work with – both new and old – in his second year as the starter including Dominic LovettRara ThomasDillon BellOscar DelpColbie YoungBenjamin YurosekTrevor Etienne and others. Put all that behind an offensive line that returns four players with starting experience, and it’s easy to see why hopes are high for the Georgia offense.

Of course though, as long as Kirby Smart is the head coach, the Bulldog defense is going to be strong, and that remains the case in 2024. Safety Malaki Starks was an All-American last season while EDGE Mykel Williams and inside linebacker Smael Mondon are certainly capable of playing at the kind of elite level. CJ Allen and Raylen Wilson played valuable snaps as true freshmen and should take steps forward – as should sack leader Jalon Walker, now a junior – while the secondary must replace three NFL Draft picks including one each at cornerback, safety and STAR.

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