Continuing on with the discussion of schedules, there is one final point I’d like to bring up.
I think there is a place for cupcakes, and I absolutely don’t have a problem with them.
I mean that both ways. In the literal sense that I enjoy cupcakes and the little cupcake shops that seem to be popping up all over the place.
I also mean in the way of scheduling. Sure, you want some good home games. As a general rule, I find the atmosphere in Sanford Stadium lacking compared to other venues I’ve visited, but when it is rockin’, cousin it is a-rockin’ with the best of them. See: LSU, South Carolina from last year.
Not all SEC schools play beefy out of conference schedules consistently, and it does suck having to pay all that money for season tickets for games that you A) don’t care about seeing and will leave early B) have to sit in the 90 degree sun at 12 noon in September watching Georgia beat up on a FCS school C)simply won’t go to, or D) give the tickets away to someone else.
There is a lot of scorn from fans and outside pundits alike about the powder puffs. Now what some other schools in the conference do in regards to their scheduling is embarrassing; likewise, you could debate the wisdom of a program like Georgia traveling to Arizona then coming back and playing Alabama the next week.
But what should not be dismissed is the importance these games play. For one, it gives the team a glorified scrimmage. Playing Georgia Southern the week before Tech is brilliant. Or playing a crappy team in November before your big rivalry game is smart because it is like having a bye week late in the season before a big game. No coach or player will say that publically, but it is truth.
It gives a nice payday to these small schools. I want to say Georgia is paying Troy $1M to come to Athens. Think of the boon that is for a smaller athletic department.
Finally, these small games give an opportunity for folks who either may not get season tickets or can afford to pay big bucks for a marquee game an opportunity to come to a game in Sanford Stadium, or it is a chance for families to bring their kids to a lower key game. When it comes time to bring the little girl to football games (fortunately she is able to stay with Grandma those weekends we come up), I don’t want to take her to LSU or Auburn until she is old enough to enjoy it or sit through it. I wouldn’t mind bringing her up for the Troy or Georgia Southern games, though. I have a lot of friends who use these crappy games as an opportunity to bring their kids, nieces or nephews.
I think Georgia has a nice balance with marquee non-conference games periodically and the cupcakes. It is easy for folks to snicker at the idea of these games, but don’t forget, they do serve a purpose.