This is an opinion column.
Tim Tebow made me laugh on Wednesday night because I know how much he hates Georgia.
The former Florida Gators quarterback hates nothing in this world except a day off from the gym, but Georgia is right there.
A new day has arrived for the Southeastern Conference and Tebow helped present league schedules for the 2024 football season during a live broadcast on the SEC Network. Oklahoma and Texas join the fried Dixieland circus, but that’s not what really caught my attention with the big finds. Tebow was there with me, and I give him credit for bringing some light shade the Georgia way on national television.
Georgia had the easiest schedule of any national title contender this season, then the Bulldogs were unmasked by Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Next season, the SEC will move to a single-division system. The league’s East and West divisions are history. The difficulty of the schedule is weighted fairly, and Georgia will be exposed to the level of competition that Alabama, Auburn and all the teams in the old SEC West endured for three decades.
Something tells me the Bulldogs will miss playing Vanderbilt and South Carolina all season.
Related: Alabama’s 2024 schedule has been released
Related: Auburn’s 2024 schedule has been released
Related: See complete SEC schedules week by week
Georgia has one of the toughest schedules in the SEC next year. The league group did coach Kirby Smart no favors. The Bulldogs open at Kentucky and then play at Alabama before a home game against rival Auburn.
Georgia then hosts Mississippi State before traveling to Austin for a game against Texas. The Longhorns are 4-1 all-time against the Bulldogs.
Georgia finished the SEC slate with a trio of tough ones: contesting against Tebow’s Florida, at Ole Miss and then at home against Tennessee. In addition to a tough conference schedule, the Bulldogs open the season against Clemson in Atlanta.
The SEC’s new timelines are not perfect, but they are fair in a way that the old two-part system could not be. I would be shocked if Georgia survives the challenge. The good news for the Bulldogs is that two losses along the way shouldn’t completely preclude a chance to make the new 12-team playoff.
Despite Georgia’s tough run in 2024, Tebow still took a light jab at the Bulldogs when he broke down a set of SEC games in Week 14. It’s rivalry week in college football, and while Texas will be at Texas A&M, Auburn goes to Tuscaloosa and Florida. After visiting Florida State, the tired Georgia Bulldogs finally got a break with rival Georgia Tech.
Thibault pointed out that this is not the most difficult way to end the season.
There are lots of ways to analyze and break down these new timelines. Start with overall appeal to audiences. Texas and Oklahoma raise the SEC’s reputation to a new level. The SEC will remain the most compelling conference in college football despite the coast-to-coast footprint of the new Big Ten.
Going into the matches, a few things caught my initial attention. Notably, Alabama plays at Oklahoma before the Iron Bowl and Auburn host Texas A&M. This is a big wrinkle for tides and tigers.
Another note: LSU has the easiest schedule ever. The Tigers begin conference play against South Carolina and have open dates before Ole Miss and Alabama. In addition to those breaks, LSU has Vanderbilt before closing out the season against Oklahoma.
Based on the schedules, LSU is one of my early favorites for the 2024 SEC Tournament.
Texas and Oklahoma believe they are prepared for the hell that awaits them in the college football paradise known as the Southeastern Conference.
They are not.
Welcome to the party, though. The SEC is a place where every game feels like a combination of a live concert, cookout, fashion show, family reunion, whiskey bender, and state fair, all in one place. The league office did OU a favor by allowing the Sooners to host LSU in their final game of the season. Next year? Prepare accordingly, OU, for that road trip to Baton Rouge. And by “prepare accordingly” we mean don’t go there with kids or without an escape plan that includes either pepper spray or someone familiar with the Israeli martial art Krav Maga.
And that’s just for everyday gaming, by the way. There is a completely different set of rules for games at night at LSU’s Tiger Stadium.
The biggest winner in the new tables? It might be Auburn. The Tigers begin conference play with home games against Arkansas and Oklahoma and then face Georgia after the Bulldogs’ trip to Tuscaloosa.
The biggest loser? Undoubtedly, it’s a bulldog. Georgia can’t hide anymore.
It’s not all bad for the Dawgs. At least this way the rest of the league will finally start to recognize their coach’s winning percentage against conference opponents as a legitimate statistic.
Oh, and there’s always Georgia Tech.
Joseph Goodman is the main sports columnist For the Alabama Media Group, and author of the most controversial sports book of all time, “We want Bama”. It’s a love story about wild times, togetherness, and rum.
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