Previewing the 2021 UGA football schedule

The energy of a campus blanketed with tailgates, the snap of Redcoat snare drums, the roar of a Sanford Stadium capacity crowd: it’s almost here. Georgia Bulldogs football and all its surrounding pageantry returns in full force this fall, and we can hardly wait. As we daydream about the first “Glory, Glory” with 93,000 voices in 658 days, let’s take a look at the highly anticipated 2021 schedule and the opponents that stand between the Dawgs and glory.

In the next month, we’ll be updating our home for all things Georgia football! Go ahead and bookmark that page now and check back often to get the latest info on Bulldog football events, fun facts about the history of UGA rivalries, downloads to help you celebrate the season, the latest episode of The Jerry Tanner Show and more!

CLEMSON UNIVERSITY

Saturday, Sep. 4, 2021 | 7:30 PM | ABC
Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC

Why not start the season with one of the most anticipated match-ups of the season? Kirby Smart and the Dawgs renew the UGA-Clemson rivalry in Charlotte against a Clemson team expected to compete for a national title. The all-time record in this dormant rivalry favors the Bulldogs significantly, but UGA has only played Clemson twice in the Dabo Swinney era (going 1-1 in those games), and Kirby and Dabo have never squared off as head coaches. For both teams, this result won’t make or break the season, but a win over a top-five team will certainly generate a lot of momentum. This one figures to be a barnburner between two excellent squads, a contest befitting the return of full-fledged college football.

UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM

Saturday, Sep. 11, 2021 | 3:30 PM | ESPN2
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

Even the grass on Vince Dooley Field will be vibrating with the energy of the first full-capacity game in Sanford Stadium since 2019. The game itself will likely be decided early, but don’t expect the Blazers, who were Conference USA champions last year, to lie down for this one. If you’ve snagged tickets for this one, it may have been a while since you’ve gone Between The Hedges, so let us remind you the most important elements of September game attendance: water and sunscreen.

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA

Saturday, Sep. 18, 2021 | 7 PM | ESPN
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

Remember the last time we played the Gamecocks at home? Yeah, us too. Well, things are different now: the South Carolina coach responsible for that debacle is now on Kirby Smart’s staff, and the new USC coach is Shane Beamer, a former Kirby Smart staffer. This year’s Gamecocks are almost certainly better than last year’s 2-8 squad, but a rebuilding USC team will have quite a difficult time with a UGA team that’s loaded with talent and experience.

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

Saturday, Sep. 25, 2021 | TBA | TBA
Vanderbilt Stadium – Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt CommodoresThe Bulldogs travel to Nashville for the 81st matchup between UGA and Vanderbilt. Ever since Coach Smart’s first game against the Commodores—his only loss to them—he has left no doubt who the better side is: three consecutive Dawg victories were decided by an average of just under 4 touchdowns. First-year Vandy coach Clark Lea—who played fullback for the ‘Dores between 2002 and 2004—has a strong defensive pedigree, and he will likely get more out of a squad that allowed over 37 points per game last year under Derek Mason, but a win over the Bulldogs is unlikely, to say the least.

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS

Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021 | TBA | TBA
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

Arkansas RazorbacksSanford Stadium welcomes back Sam Pittman, who coached the Bulldog offensive line from 2016-2019. Pittman enters his second year with the Razorbacks on a positive note, despite the Hawgs’ 3-7 record in 2020: three of their losses were decided by 3 or fewer points, including a game against no. 13 Auburn in the Tigers’ home stadium, and they claimed a few encouraging victories, among them a win over no. 16 Mississippi State that snapped the Razorbacks’ 20-game SEC losing streak. Pittman’s Arkansas rebuild will likely continue to progress well under Pittman, so don’t be surprised if they play the Dawgs close, but even if Arky’s defense can control the Bulldog offense at the outset, our defense should be able to contain the Hawgs long enough for the difference in the two teams’ depth charts to become apparent.

AUBURN UNIVERSITY

Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 | TBA | TBA
Jordan-Hare Stadium – Auburn, AL

Auburn TigersIn this 126th edition of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, Kirby Smart attempts to become only the third UGA coach to win 5 in a row over the Tigers. Meanwhile, first-year Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin—along with offensive coordinator Mike Bobo (weird, right?) and defensive coordinator Derek Mason—will attempt to reverse the bad fortune Auburn had under Gus Malzahn (2-7 against UGA). Much rests on the performance of Auburn’s junior quarterback Bo Nix, though talented running back Tank Bigsby will provide a consistent offensive threat, and Auburn’s defense looks to be just as strong as last year. Don’t expect a romp like last year’s game, but the schedule could help Georgia: Auburn plays LSU in Baton Rouge the week before the Dawgs.

UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY

Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021 | TBA | TBA
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

Kentucky WildcatsMark Stoops is entering his ninth year as head coach at Kentucky, making him the second longest tenured coach in the SEC, behind only Nick Saban. If that seems hard to believe—particularly in light of Kentucky’s 24-42 SEC record during Stoops’ time—remember that Kentucky is on a three-game bowl win streak and Stoops is only three years removed from being named SEC Coach of the Year. So, Kentucky is no pushover, and even though Stoops has never beaten Georgia, years of solid recruiting, some key new arrivals (UK has new offensive and defensive coordinators and some solid new players in by way of transfers), and a respectable defense will keep the Wildcats competitive.

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

Saturday, Oct. 30 | 3:30 PM | CBS
TIAA Bank Field – Jacksonville, FL

Florida GatorsNo Trask, no Pitts, no Toney, no Grimes: music to Bulldogs’ ears. In fact, the hated Gators return just 9 starters across offense, defense AND special teams. But perhaps the most important returning member of the Florida team isn’t a player at all: unbelievably, Todd Grantham returns to coach the defense after allowing 30.8 points per game in 2020, the most Florida’s allowed since World War II. Still, Florida is Florida, and they definitely still recruit like Florida, so no matter how much they lose, they’re still a contender. Dual-threat quarterback Emory Jones will pose a problem for Dan Lanning and the UGA defense, and All-SEC cornerback Kaiir Elam can control his side of the field (even if Grantham does more Grantham-type things). Unless Kentucky or Missouri overperform, this looks to be the deciding contest for the SEC East. Just the way we like it.

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021 | TBA | TBA
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

Missouri TigersAfter the Florida game, this one could be sneakily difficult. Missouri has recruited well and the year 2 effect—new coaches often see a significant uptick in their team’s performance in year 2—could be in play for Eliah Drinkwitz. Sophomore Connor Bazelak returns under center following a freshman year that saw him throw for over 2,300 yards on a 67% completion rate, but he is one of just a few underclassmen starters on this team—Mizzou returns lots of experience this year. The Tigers will likely improve this year, but there’s a lot of distance between losing to a woeful Tennessee team in 2020 and competing with the 2021 UGA squad. It’s unlikely Missouri will clear that gap.

UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE

Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021 | TBA | TBA
Neyland Stadium – Knoxville, TN

Tennessee VolunteersOh, what a year it’s been for the Vols. Last year’s squad went 3-7 (including a 6-game losing streak), former coach Jeremy Pruitt got caught up in a recruiting scandal that saw him ousted along with Tennessee legend and now-former athletic director Phillip Fulmer, a swath of players hit the transfer portal and got out of Knoxville as fast as they could, and the new athletic director, Danny White, underwhelmed Vol Nation by bringing in the head football coach from his last stop, Josh Heupel. You could almost feel bad for them if they weren’t the Vols. The preview for this one is simple: some decent pieces still remain in Knoxville, but this Tennessee team is about to undergo not just a rebuild but a total culture shift. In other words, Dawgs win.

CHARLESTON SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY

Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 | TBA | TBA
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

Apparently, these are the Buccaneers. And frankly, unless they’re the Tom Brady ones from Tampa, we probably don’t need to give it a second thought. If you wanted to take a deeper look, though, you’d see an FCS team—a member of the Big South Conference—that went 2-2 in their abbreviated, postponed 2020 season that was played between March and April of this year, and a team that has gone 0-22 against FBS teams over the history of the program. This game will be most significant as our senior class’s final home game.

GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 | TBA | TBA
Bobby Dodd Stadium – Atlanta, GA

There are Bulldog fans out there who will tell you this is no longer a rivalry, citing perhaps the 23-6 record in the Bulldogs’ favor since 1991 or maybe the 16-3 UGA edge since 2001. But recall with us, dear reader, the image of a victorious Yellow Jacket, branches of The Hedges clamped between his teeth with a strength and desperation matched only by your Georgia Tech alum neighbor for the 364 days following that victory, and we think you’ll remember why we need to remind the Jackets who they are. Quarterback Jeff Sims and running back Jahmyr Gibbs are legitimate threats on Geoff Collins’ third GT team, and a slew of transfer players may strengthen the team, but this is still a team in the midst of a reclamation project (thank you, Paul Johnson, for your ironclad commitment to the triple option).

Eight reasons why Uga is the best mascot

1. He’s a loyal family man

Uga has been owned by the same family since he arrived on the University of Georgia’s campus in 1956. Frank W. Seiler’s (BBA ’56, JD ’57) family of Savannah, Georgia, owns the English Bulldogs and is as much a part of their family as he is the UGA family.  

Uga in Sanford Stadium

2. He knows how to live in style

Sweating in the Georgia heat during a home game? What’s that? Uga’s on-field home is a permanent air-conditioned dog house located next to the cheerleaders’ platform. He gets to sit on a bag of ice to chill during the hot fall Saturdays in Athens. He also has his own room at UGA’s Center for Continuing Education & Hotel. 

Uga outside of his air-condition dog house

3. He’s graced the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine

Uga is a model, plain and simple. Oh, and Sports Illustrated also named him the No. 1 mascot in all of college football. Nothing big.  

GIF of Uga

4. He has his own car

What’s that coming down the tracks? Uga in a Victory Red Suburban provided by Athens Chevrolet! Uga rides to Georgia games in style in an official vehicle that has a custom license plate detailing his name and roman numeral.  

Uga in the trunk of Victory Red Suburban car

5. He’s taken on a longhorn and survived the day

You might remember the 2019 All-State Sugar Bowl against the University of Texas Longhorns where their mascot, Bevo, charged Uga X and everyone went up in a frenzy. Good thing is that Uga came out unscathed. What other mascot has been targeted by an almost two-ton longhorn and survived?  

GIF of Kirby Smart

6. He’s a movie star

Petition to get Uga a movie franchise like Beethoven? Uga V made a cameo appearance in the 1997 film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and had several scenes with John Cusack’s character walking through Forsyth Park. He had no bad sides, and the camera loved him. 

Uga with his tongue out

7. He knows how to work hard

The GIF speaks for itself. Good boy.  

8. He has the best squad

Name a better trio. We’ll wait.

Uga X with UGA mascot and Chip Chambers

2021 UGA football schedule

Apr 17 – G-Day
Sep 4 – vs. Clemson – Charlotte, NC
Sep 11 – UAB
Sep 18 – South Carolina
Sep 25 – @ Vanderbilt
Oct 2 – Arkansas
Oct 9 – @ Auburn
Oct 16 – Kentucky
Oct 23 – Bye week
Oct 30 – vs. Florida – Jacksonville, FL
Nov 6 – Missouri
Nov 13 – @ Tennessee
Nov 20 – Charleston Southern
Nov 27 – @ Georgia Tech

After an uncertain (but successful!) 2020 football season for the Georgia Bulldogs, the announcement of the 2021 schedule rings a bell of hope for Bulldog fans everywhere. The team will kick off the regular season against the Clemson Tigers in Charlotte, North Carolina, and close it out with a showdown in Atlanta against our in-state rivals, from Georgia Tech. Planning to attend a home game in Athens this fall? UGA will host the University of Alabama at Birmingham, South Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri and Charleston Southern.

In Kirby Smart’s (BBA ’98) sixth season as head coach, the team’s roster will include returning players Jamaree Salyer, JT Daniels and James Cook, and five-star recruits Amarius Mims, Brock Vandagriff, Xavian Sorey and Smael Mondon.

Being a Georgia Bulldog is great no matter from where you’re barking — but with COVID-19 vaccinations on the horizon, we hope to cheer together from between the hedges this fall. Go Dawgs!

 

2020 Homecoming–this is normal, right?

Homecoming–a time when UGA alumni gather to celebrate and return to their alma mater … but how do we do this in 2020? This year, instead of lining the streets of downtown Athens for the annual Homecoming parade or attending a tailgate hosted by your school or college, the UGA Alumni Association’s loyal volunteers and dedicated staff members have curated a week of virtual festivities to bring a little piece of the Arch to you (Nov. 16-21)!

 

For the Woman Who Wants to Serve

Monday, November 16 | Mentorship Monday | Women on Boards

UGA Alumni Association Vice President Yvette Daniels (AB ’86, JD ’89) will moderate a Mentorship Monday panel focused on women’s role as board members of community, nonprofit and for-profit boards–and how to find a board placement that’s right for you.

 

For the Nostalgic Football Fan

Tuesday, November 17 | Hunker Down & Huddle Up | Members of the 1980 Championship Football Team

UGA Alumni Association President Brian Dill (AB ’94, MBA ’19) will speak with members of UGA’s 1980 football team. Buck Belue (M ’82), Scott Williams (AB ’86), Frank Ros (BSED ’82, MED ’84) and Coach Vince Dooley will reminisce on the 1980 season, discuss their time at UGA, weigh in on this year’s team–and answer questions from alumni and fans.

 

For Alumni Who Love History

Wednesday, November 18 | Monumental Discussions w/Sheffield Hale (AB ’82)

UGA’s Metro Atlanta Alumni Chapter will host a conversation with Sheffield Hale (AB ’82), president and CEO of the Atlanta History Center. Dawn D. Bennett-Alexander, associate professor of employment law and legal studies in the Terry College of Business, will moderate this discussion of historical facts and context around monuments, historic markers, and the meaning behind them.

 

For Alumni Who Could Use a Good Laugh

Thursday, November 19 | Between Two Hedges | Comedian Mia Jackson (AB ’00)

Atlanta-based comedian Mia Jackson (AB ’00) has opened for Amy Schumer, taped specials for EPIX and Comedy Central, and was a semi-finalize on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” The UGA Young Alumni Leadership Council will host this successful alumna for a discussion ‘Between Two Hedges.’

 

For Alumni Who Miss Tailgating–especially on Myers Quad

Saturday, November 21 | UGA Black Alumni (Virtual) Homecoming Tailgate
Saturday, November 21 | Homecoming @ Home w/UGA School of Law

Fire up your grill, gather your circle of friends or family, and tune in to this special pre-game show three hours prior to kickoff. The UGA Black Alumni Leadership Council is proud to bring the spirit and pride of the annual Black Alumni Homecoming Tailgate on Myers Quad into your living room. Then, switch on the TV to cheer for the Dawgs as they beat Mississippi State!

For all of those Law Dawgs out there, the School of Law is taking its annual tailgate virtual as well. Find all you need to know here.

 

For Alumni Who Are Busy Next Week

Wednesday, December 2 | Between the Pages | Chuck Bryant (AB ’95) of Stuff You Should Know
Sunday, December 6 | Cookies & Cocoa with Hairy Dawg
Tuesday, December 8 | Who is Hiring Now? | Top Job Search Strategies Webinar

If you can’t make it next week, we have an ever-evolving lineup of virtual offerings for alumni throughout the year, including the Between the Pages virtual book club on December 2 (you don’t even have to read the book beforehand!) and a virtual edition of our annual holiday fundraiser, Cookies & Cocoa with Hairy Dawg. Hope to see you there!

In addition to these activities, there are a number of activities in which alumni can participate that are coordinated by UGA’s Homecoming Committee:

  • Dawg Dawg 5K (Sunday, 11/15) – A virtual 5K similar to our “Attack the Day 5K” this summer. Details here. Post your photos to social and tag @ugahomecoming.
  • Donation Drive (Monday-Thursday, 11/16-11/19) – Donate items for the Student Food Pantry, Professional Clothing Closet and/or Bulldog Basics in Tate Plaza from 10-4 each day.
  • School & College Day (Wednesday, 11/18) – Post on social why you love your UGA school/college. Tag @ugahomecoming to be featured!
  • Drive-In Movie (Friday, 11/20) – Catch a flick at the IM Fields Lot (E01) at 7 p.m.

From the Classic City to country music: Ray Fulcher on his latest release, Love Ya Son, Go Dawgs

“Football at UGA is more than just a game or an event; it’s a lifestyle, it’s family, it’s engrained into our everyday life. This song hopefully captures that.”  – Ray Fulcher (BSED ’08, MED ’10)

When country music singer/songwriter Ray Fulcher (BSED ’08, MED ’10) was majoring in education at UGA, he went to a concert that changed his life. Eric Church performing on the Georgia Theatre stage inspired Ray to pick up a guitar—and he hasn’t looked back. He’s now written four No.1 hits performed by Luke Combs and has released a new song with a nod to his alma mater.

Ray admits choosing a new—and less certain—career path was probably the “dumbest” thing he could do. He also knows that’s what makes it so worthwhile. His advice for students considering a major life change?

“Don’t be afraid to go after it. Know that it won’t be easy and forget the word ‘quit.’”

Ray co-wrote the chart-topping When it Rains, It Pours in 2017. His first call when he found out it hit No. 1 was to his parents. The Double Dawg values his family, who supported his pursuit of a career in music, and his alma mater; both loves are evident in his latest release, Love Ya Son, Go Dawgs. The song highlights the bond between father and son, and while Ray hopes Georgia fans can relate, he believes the song is universal.

When asked if he would take requests from fans to tweak the lyrics to feature other teams, Ray is quick to say, “They can sing whatever version they want, but I don’t think I could ever sing anything but ‘Dawgs.’”

Check out Ray’s new song above and enjoy a few of his favorite college memories from his time in Athens.

Rapid-Fire with Ray Fulcher

  • Top Sanford Stadium moment: 2007 Auburn blackout game
  • Most prized UGA possession: 2005 SEC championship ring (I was a student assistant then a graduate assistant for the football team from 2004-2010) *see photo below!
  • Favorite song in college: Rhett Akins “That Ain’t my Truck”
  • Favorite UGA/Athens musician: Bill Anderson (ABJ ’59)
  • Gameday hype song: The Battle Hymn!
  • Uga X or Hairy Dawg: Uga!
  • Score prediction for UGA vs. Bama: Dawgs on top 37-35

Ray shared a few photos from his time at UGA and on the road performing:

Get the UGA coloring pages you never knew you needed

These coloring pages are perfect for Bulldog fans of any age, whether you use them to distract a toddler, de-stress after a long day, or decorate your space with reminders of Athens. And yes, you can use more colors than just red and black … just no orange!

Show us your creativity by posting these on social media and tagging the UGA Alumni Association and be sure to include #AlwaysADawg.

Click on each of the following images to download them. Don’t worry; we’ve made them printer-friendly! [And we added a new option in Spring 2020].