Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What Team has a Comparable Out of Conference Schedule to Georgia's 2009 Slate?

Much has been written this offseason about the difficult out of conference facing the Dawgs in 2009. With three BCS conference opponents on the schedule, Georgia has been given a lot of credit for scheduling a tough schedule. I decided to look for another team who faced a similar out of conference schedule as Georgia and I found a team whose out of conference schedule appears eerily similar to Georgia's: East Carolina. Let's take a look at how these two schedules match up.

Similarity #1 - The Highly Ranked Preseason Opponent who they Defeated in 2007
As we all know, Georgia opens the year on the road at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are ranked #11 in the Pre-Season coaches poll. Georgia played Oklahoma State in 2007, defeating them 35-14.

The Pirates will host pre-season #7 Virginia Tech on November 5. These two teams also met in 2007, with the Pirates upsetting the Hokies 17-7.

Similarity #2 - ACC Program on the Rise
Georgia will close the 2009 season with its annual match up against in-state rival Georgia Tech. Under new coach Paul Johnson, the Yellow Jackets defeated Georgia for the first time since 2000 and are among the pre-season favorites to win the ACC.

East Carolina will travel to Chapel Hill on September 19 to take on North Carolina. Coach Butch Davis is starting to build a strong Tar Heel program and looks to be among the stronger ACC schools.

Similarity #3 - BCS Conference Opponent Coming Off a Disappointing Season
Arizona State was a preseason top 15 team in 2008, but after losing to Georgia at home, the Sun Devils continued to struggle and failed to make a bowl. They come to Athens in late September.

West Virginia came off another BCS Bowl victory and was led by senior quarterback Pat White. But under first year coach Bill Stewart, the Mountaineers missed out on a Big East Championship. The Pirates host West Virgina during week 2.

Similarity #4 - D1-AA Opponent to finish out schedule
Both teams filled their final spot on the schedule with a 1-AA opponent. Georgia gets Tennessee Tech and East Carolina hosts Appalachian State.

As you can see, the out of conference schedules for both teams are very similar. As for the conference schedules, that is a much different story. While Georgia gets LSU, Florida, and Auburn, East Carolina faces the daunting task of beating Southern Miss, Marshall, and Rice. There is a reason that non-BCS schools do not get to play for a national championship.