Now that McGarity is saying he wants to schedule 7 homes games per season, you should be concerned if you enjoy watching Georgia travel out of the southeast, and even if you like seeing them leave the state.
While this likely doesn't come as a shock to most given that McGarity is considered a protege of Vince Dooley and Florida AD Jeremy Foley (neither known for their strength of scheduling), you might not be aware of the extent to which Florida has avoided rigorous out of conference games.
Many have criticized Florida and Foley for their weak scheduling philosophy. In fact, McGarity's intent on scheduling is identical to Foley's known scheduling standards.
However, there's some facts that everyone should be aware of regarding Foley's tenure as AD that might cause concern, even if you want to see some lighter scheduling:
- Florida has not played an out of conference game outside of the State of Florida during Foley's 18 years (their last out of conference game outside of the sunshine state was against Syracuse 1991, when Foley was second in command).
- Only ONCE has Florida played an out of conference game away from Gainesville under Foley (this was 2003 at Miami and this of course excludes FSU since they are a permanent fixture on the schedule).
We're not talking a 4, 5, or 6 year period. We're talking almost two decades of Florida avoiding leaving their home field, let alone the flat peninsula they call home.
Most of the opponents Florida has brought to Gainesville range from Southern Miss to the Citadel to the always challenging, Charleston Southern. If you look back, they aren't brining quality opponents, they are feasting on trays of cupcakes. One could argue that Florida's 2010 schedule of Miami (OH), South Florida, FSU, and Appalachian State is their most difficult slew of out of conference games in two decades.
Florida also refuses to commit to scheduling anymore games with Miami since Miami insists on a home & home deal, and the gators aren't even interested in traveling to Tampa to play USF. Florida has also turned down an opportunity to play Utah, because at most they wanted a neutral site game in the State of Florida (once again, a home and home series is a non-starter).
As a fan that loves road game almost more than home games, I find this absolutely troubling. The trend goes beyond just scheduling some directional southern schools more often; it's leading towards us never leaving Sanford unless we are playing at Georgia Tech.
I'm not excited about another noon kickoff cupcake game with empty seats at Sanford. I can understand Richt not wanting constant cross country travels and even I'll agree that the 2009 schedule was excessive. However, if McGarity is importing the Florida model, we won't be venturing across state lines after our current commitments are fulfilled (or it will be minimal at best).
McGarity could be lighter on scheduling standards than his former boss and be willing take a 6 game home schedule every once in a while. Possible, but given how McGarity was heavily involved in Florida's scheduling (as was discussed during the interview process for Georgia's AD position), I'm not so sure we'll be seeing any exciting matchups being scheduled.