GREENVILLE, S.C. — Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich told The Clemson Insider Wednesday that an announcement of a Clemson-Georgia series in football could come as early as this summer.
Radakovich confirmed a report earlier in the day that Clemson and Georgia have had discussions about working something out. Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told the Athens Banner-Herald earlier in the day the two schools were trying to work something out sooner rather than later.
“Greg and I actually texted back-and-forth today, and like he said we are looking to try and get a game together here shortly,” Radakovich said to TCI during the Prowl & Growl event at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C. “Now, shortly is defined inside of football scheduling shortly. So we are looking to do that.
“I think there is a desire to play on both sides parts, as Coach (Dabo) Swinney has talked about it and even Kirby (Smart) has said that as well.”
Radakovich took what McGarity said a step further, saying they are looking at a series with Georgia that will be similar with the three-games they played against Auburn from 2010-’12. In those three games, they had a home-and-home series with Auburn, plus a neutral site game in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Football Kickoff Classic.
“We are trying to combine everything together so that is probably why it is going to take a little longer to do,” Radakovich said. “It is all kind of wrapped together, but we still have a ways to go before we can line up all the dates and things like that. But we are working on it.”
Clemson has been trying to find a big-name home opponent for its 2021 season for a long time. The Tigers are having an issue with getting a team locked down because of its upcoming matchups with Notre Dame.
Clemson routinely likes to play one Power 5 opponent, along with South Carolina, an FCS state school and then a non-Power 5 opponent as part of its non-conference schedule each year.
The Tigers play South Carolina at home on even years and at South Carolina on odd years, which means if they play a home-and-home with a Power 5 opponent, Clemson wants to play that opponent at home on those years they play at South Carolina so it does not lose a seventh home game.
However, here is the problem and the one that Clemson and Georgia are most likely trying to work around. Because of Notre Dame’s agreement to play five ACC opponents a year, the Tigers and Irish are scheduled to play each other in 2020, 2022 and 2023. Because the 2022 game is at Notre Dame, the Tigers are having a hard time filling that final non-conference home game spot in 2021 with a Power 5 opponent because they cannot return the favor until 2024.
The good news for Clemson and Georgia is the 2024 season is open for both schools. Clemson hosts South Carolina that year and has two other home games against App State and The Citadel. Georgia has just one opponent on its 2024 non-conference schedule right now and that is a home game against Georgia Tech.
So Clemson playing at Georgia in 2024 is a likely possibility. However, Georgia more than likely will not be able to return the favor and come to Clemson until 2027.
There is a possibility for Clemson and Georgia to meet in 2021. However, the question is does Georgia want to lose a seventh home game and come to Clemson? The Bulldogs already have home games scheduled against San Jose State and UAB with their annual matchup against Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
The two could agree to play a neutral site game in 2021, where they both can receive at least something for losing a home game.
“When you look at programs like Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee, really all of those great historical programs, which are close to us, it makes sense to play them,” Radakovich said. “As long as we can make it work from a schedule perspective it is a good thing for everybody.”