Last year's Georgia schedule was weak, but this year's is even weaker and it will be a surprise if the Bulldogs don't represent the East at the SEC Championship Game in December.
This year the Bulldogs will play Buffalo to open the season and also have non-conference games vs. Florida Atlantic and Georgia Southern in addition to their rivalry game to close the regular season vs. Georgia Tech. Georgia should be heavily favored in each of those matchups.
The competition you face in college football has a lot to do with your record. This is as true today as it was when I was playing college football and coaching it over a period that stretched into five decades.
If you play a lot of really good opponents, you are going to lose games unless you have got Superman on your roster. Somewhere along the line, one or more of those really good opponents are going to get you.
After tuning up vs. Buffalo to open the 2012 season, if Georgia takes care of business on the road vs. Missouri the Bulldogs will have a chance to get on a long winning streak.
With the addition of the two new teams to the conference, the Bulldogs will have Missouri on their schedule as an annual opponent. There is all kind of speculation about how Missouri football will fit into the SEC East and how Texas A&M will fit into the SEC West.
Maybe the new teams will come into the league and play very well and surprise some people, but week in and week out they will be facing a different level of competition than they played in the Big 12. The grind is going to be tough for those teams to handle.
I think the SEC East should be better than it was last year, but playing in that division is still not like playing in the SEC West where Auburn has to face LSU, Arkansas and Alabama every year. At one time last season, I believe LSU, Alabama and Arkansas were all ranked in the top three nationally. None of those teams are on Georgia's 2012 schedule while Auburn will be playing all three.
Auburn's degree of difficulty with its schedule this season is probably comparable to the schedule the Tigers played two years ago when they won them all. I wouldn't expect a repeat of 2010 because this year's Auburn team doesn't feature the large and experienced group of seniors and juniors that led the way to a perfect record.
While this year's Auburn roster is going to be more experienced than last year's, it is still a bit light on seniors. The 2012 Tigers are going to be a junior, sophomore and freshman team. I personally think Coach (Gene) Chizik's Tigers are still a year away from getting back to where they are going to have the same talent level and same depth of the top teams they will face throughout the year, but they are making progress.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.