2017 Schedule (with analysis):

(Photo: Han Vance and Hairy Dawg, at Sanford Stadium)

2017 Georgia Football Schedule:

9/2 (6:15) App State – They beat Michigan once before moving up. Went 11-2 in ’15; won their conference and 10 games in ’16, badly scaring Vols in overtime. Over past two full seasons, only Clemson and Bama have better records than little, dangerous App. Merv will be kicking the season off right for me with one of his epic tailgates.

9/9 (7:30) at Notre Dame – We beat them to win it all in 1980, and at 8-0-1 they got the votes over our unblemished 1946 team in top polls, which was a travesty. Thousands of UGA fans await this game. The Irish, without a conference, often play big non-regional games.

9/16 (7:30) Samford – A private school from Alabama, this is the only cupcake on the schedule and literally the only surefire W.

9/23 Miss State – Dynamite QB Fitzgerald’s Maroon Pups hit Classic City. Any big season will certainly include being the best side in our league nicknamed Bulldogs, but this home SEC opener could be close, especially as we all look ahead to revenge versus UT.

9/30 at Tennessee – Richt’s final Rocky Top flop still stings, and the Hail Mary was somehow even worse. The Vols have seen Nick Chubb for two total carries throughout his excellent career at UGA. I predict they see him in the fabled checkerboards repeatedly in 2017. The talent exodus from their program, which peaked at just 9 wins, likely won’t be overcome by a grasping, red-faced Butch Jones.

10/7 at Vandy – Nashville surging economically and culturally. Anybody over our pathetic Homecoming loss to a private school?

10/14 Missouri (Homecoming) – They’ve won at Athens in dramatic fashion but have only beaten us once total in SEC, and the forecast for these Tigers again isn’t too bright. Can’t wait to visit my alma mater.

10/21 – [BYE] – Most important week of the season, folks.

10/28 (3:30p) Florida – (@Jax) World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party got Richt canned, and no points in second half last year equated to no improvement. They had top pass defense in country last year and were tough to run on, but they lost a bunch of NFL defenders. While 6-of-27 indicates to me we should’ve long ago moved our biggest annual series out of Sunshine State, it’s an unparalleled pregame environment. Be there in person this year with Hilley, and to cover the general culture of the event for Bulldawg Illustrated. Single most important win for Georgia this year needs to be Florida.

11/4 S. Carolina – Spurrier ain’t walking through any doors. We played the Chickens on Sunday last year – our only win over five morbid football games that veritably tested our faith in goodness. Muschamp has generally been a UGA victim since his playing days. My brother, a UGA alum and South Carolinian by birth, and I have plans for this one, which may include another Athens Legacy event.

11/11 at Auburn – Closest old rivalry in all of sports. Same brother and I were there for our only big win of the season. We partied through the bus window with Sony Michel and friends, after we edged ol’ Aubie 13-7  behind a nasty D; they played without their key guys healthy. The decade of utter dominance – only two AU-Barn wins, both by national championship game entrants, one a total fluke – went plus one (9-2). This is perhaps the most likely place for a UGA regular season loss.

11/18 Kentucky – “Basketball school” an insult in Deep South. The lil bleu were in contention to win the SEC at the time of this contest last year: shame on Georgia, Florida and especially a choking Tennessee for allowing them in the race – though Mildcats beat none of three.

11/25 at Tech – We are GEORGIA; they’ve won 2-of-3. Big tailgate plans right up the street here with Merv, in America’s urban forest.

12/2 – SEC Championship Game in Mercedes-Benz Stadium (@ATL) – I’m taking GEORGIA to win the SEC this year and expect someone other than Alabama (Auburn or LSU, maybe) to potentially get through the overhyped SEC West, based simply on the law of averages. If I had to wager one way though, I’d go Georgia over Alabama and take the points. We won our first (and later second) SEC championship in twenty years at the Georgia Dome in Richt’s 2nd year (important time for a head coach inheriting a program not in rebuilding mode), and we took the final Kickoff Classic there. While overall improving our performances in the biggest stadium of Atlanta is a real key to our football program making further progress.

CFP – College Football Playoff to follow. CFP or bust for us, y’all.

~”Richt Era: 15 Years in Athens” retrospective book by Han Vance master edition forthcoming with new foreword by Loran Smith.

~Book publisher: SilverStonePress, www.silverstonepress.com

(Vance at his folks’ place in Marietta, photo by: Dr. Mo Braum)

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_On Twitter: @ h a n v a n c e