Since the SEC split into divisions in 1992, East rivals Tennessee and Georgia have met 11 years in a row. The first four of these meetings occurred in September. The past seven occurred in October, but never later than Oct. 12. Because it plays Florida and Georgia so early, Tennessee can virtually lock up the SEC East title by midseason if it wins both games. Conversely, Tennessee can virtually drop out of the SEC East title chase by midseason if it loses both games. Thus, the November games aren't as meaningful as they could be.
Here's another reason to move Georgia to the end of the schedule: Michigan closes with Ohio State ... UCLA closes with Southern Cal ... Auburn closes with Alabama ... Florida closes with Florida State. Shouldn't Tennessee close with a big game, as well? You don't hold the main event of a boxing card midway through the show. You stage some of the lesser bouts early and build toward a fitting climax. It should be the same way with a football season. If you can't close the season with a main event vs. Florida, close it with a main event vs. Georgia.
My proposal is pretty simple: Since Tennessee's annual November matchup with Vanderbilt has become a joke -- the Vols have won the last 20 meetings and 26 of the past 27 -- why not swap the Georgia and Vandy games on UT's schedule?
This way, Tennessee and Vanderbilt would meet in early October, when the Commodores' depth isn't so depleted and they might pose more of a threat. Moreover, Tennessee and Georgia would meet in late November ... with the SEC East title possibly riding on the outcome.
Even if Georgia's stint as an SEC power is brief -- which appears unlikely -- the Dawgs still will provide a better challenge each November than Vanderbilt.