The Georgia Bulldogs open up the 2011 season with the toughest two-game stretch in the nation. The opener is technically considered a neutral site game against Boise State in the Georgia Dome. The following week, the Bulldogs open up the SEC schedule playing host to South Carolina.
Both teams figure to be in the top 10-15 in the preseason polls and will be a very tough test.
With that being said, which game, Boise State or South Carolina, is bigger for the Georgia Bulldogs?
It's simple. It's the South Carolina game.
The main reason is that it comes against a Southeastern Conference opponent, and winning that game puts you in the front seat for an SEC Championship.
The game against Boise State will be shown on a national stage and get the national spotlight as a non-BCS powerhouse plays an opponent from the nation's best conference.
While Georgia isn't the cream of the crop in the SEC, they are in the conference, and they have had success in the conference, winning two SEC Titles in the early 2000s.
The two teams played each other to kick off the 2005 season in Athens, and it wasn't even close. Georgia won 48-13 en route to becoming SEC Champions.
That was seven years ago, and a lot has changed since then. Boise State has become one of the nation's winningest teams, and the Bulldogs are coming off their first losing season since 1996.
Don't get me wrong; the Boise State game is a huge game. It will also mean a lot towards the perception of the Bulldogs during the 2011 season.
A win against Boise State would jump Georgia into the top 15. A win against the Broncos would give Georgia confidence and momentum heading into the biggest game of the year.
Regardless of the result of the Georgia vs. Boise State matchup, the game the following week against South Carolina is bigger.
Not only because it comes against an opponent from the SEC, but because it is the toughest game remaining on the Bulldogs' schedule.
Following Week 2, the team's road opponents are Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Georgia Tech. Each of these teams are coming off a losing season from a year ago.
On the other hand, their home opponents are Coastal Carolina, Mississippi State, New Mexico State, Auburn, and Kentucky.
And then there is that neutral site game down in Jacksonville.
After the first two games, the Bulldogs have the easiest schedule in the entire SEC, and it's not even close.
Many figure that South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia are all talented enough to win the wide-open SEC Eastern Division.
Although their talent levels may be similar, Florida and Tennessee have much tougher schedules. The Volunteers have to play at Alabama, LSU, and at Arkansas. The Gators have to play Alabama, at LSU, and at Auburn (in back-to-back-to-back weeks).
Both South Carolina and Georgia miss out on the two best teams in the Nation—LSU and Alabama. However, the Gamecocks do have to travel to play at Arkansas and at Mississippi State.
That's why the second week game between Georgia and South Carolina will decide the SEC East. If Florida or Tennessee were in the shoes of Georgia, then the same would be said about them as well.
The Bulldogs catch a break, not having to play the three best teams in the SEC, and while the season opener against Boise State will mean a lot nationally, the game against South Carolina will decide the Bulldogs' overall fate for the 2011 season.
It's simple: if Georgia beats South Caroline in Week 2, the Bulldogs will play in the Georgia Dome for a second time this season in the SEC Championship.
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