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Roundtable: GatorMaven Staff Takes on Florida-Georgia Playing in Jacksonville

Where does the GatorMaven staff believe Florida-Georgia should be played?

Over the past 86 years, the annual Florida-Georgia game has been brought to you from TIAA Bank Field, Everbank Field, Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, Alltel Stadium, The Gator Bowl...

You get the point, the game has always been played in Jacksonville, Florida, (except for 1994-95) and not at the University of Florida or Georgia.

And until at least 2024, that won't change.

The City of Jacksonville and both universities extended the game's contract through 2023 with an option to keep the contest in Duval County until 2025 this past Friday.

As of late, both Florida and Georgia fan bases have brought up the idea to move the games to the respective universities. The idea of the heated rivalry moving to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and Sanford Stadium is exciting, and it would play into recruiting.

However, as Florida head coach Dan Mullen told the media on Monday, playing in a stadium split 50/50 between fanbases is a "really unique scene for college football". Mullen did acknowledge that as the landscape of college football changes, they could look into a move in the future, but believes that as for now that Jacksonville is a beneficial site.

What do you think about the location of Florida-Georgia game? Should the game stick in Jacksonville as a bit of college football history? Would it benefit the schools more to move the game to their own stadiums? How about a rotation? 

The GatorMaven staff had some takes on the subject.

Zach Goodall: I really could go either way here.

Florida-Georgia being played in Jacksonville is, as Mullen said, a unique tradition and I wouldn't want to see that disappear. How many games can boast a neutral site as a tradition for going on 100 years?

However, the recruiting angle is really valid with official visits not occurring at a neutral site, and TIAA Bank Field could certainly use some stadium upgrades (entry lines, food and beverage service, and so on) to best serve such a crowd of people.

Perhaps a rotation could be developed? I love the idea of Jacksonville-Florida-Jacksonville-Georgia in order to satisfy both sides of this debate.

Graham Marsh: People care about Florida-Georgia nationally. Everyone knows it’s in Jacksonville every year. Everyone knows it’s the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The neutral site makes it that way. If it were a home-and-home it would be like Florida-Florida State where nobody outside of the southeast would care if both teams aren’t really good that year. 

If you want to make the rivalry regional and make less people care about it, take the game out of Jacksonville. If you want to really screw it up, move it to Atlanta where there’s not a fraction of enough tailgating space. Why is making it a home-and-home something people entertain? Because Kirby Smart is unhappy with how it impacts his recruiting? No Florida or Georgia coach has ever complained about how it alters recruiting. I would actually argue that it’s a huge recruiting weekend for Jacksonville-area players. 

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The game being in Duval makes the rivalry different. It makes it special. It makes it embody college football. A home-and-home makes the rivalry no different from all the others. We all know that for Gator and Dawg fans, playing the other means a little more than the other rivalries. It means a little more than Tennessee, or LSU or Auburn. Jacksonville is a huge reason why. If you want to screw up one of college football’s best spectacles, take the game out of Jacksonville. 

Ainslie Lee: The Florida-Georgia game has always held a special place in my heart. Admittedly, my family has a long lineage of Gator fans and an even longer list of tales from Jacksonville. Many of these stories wouldn’t be as exciting or entertaining if it weren’t for the one constant — being in Jacksonville. 

The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville presents one of the most unique atmospheres in sports. Not just college sports, but all sports.  And with talks of moving the contest away from Jacksonville and allowing both schools to host the game, it isn’t so much of a threat to the City of Jacksonville or to recruiting (though such arguments do exist), but rather it serves as a threat to the nature of college sports and one of the greatest rivalries in college football. There is nothing not to love about the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, so why fix something that isn't broken?.

Victor Prieto: Florida-Georgia is staying in Jacksonville, and deservedly so. 

The atmosphere at TIAA Bank Field is unrivaled, and it’s one of the several reasons college football is unmatched. However, especially in the wake of how weak Florida’s home schedule has been as of late, I can’t help thinking what Ben Hill Griffin Stadium would feel like if No. 8 Georgia was visiting campus this weekend. 

This isn’t to say Jacksonville isn’t a good host. That environment and game is considered to be a favorite by most alumni and students every year. Yet, a trip to Athens, Georgia, Gainesville, and then Jacksonville every three years doesn’t sound too bad to me. 

Perhaps a rotation should be discussed the next time the contract is close to expiring.

Ethan Budowsky: As a student, I am biased on this subject but I am of the belief that a switch to Florida-Georgia being a home and home series would be awesome. 

I think it would be so cool to see those teams go to each other's houses and play in two of the best atmospheres in the country. Georgia coming to The Swamp would be one of, if not the, most exciting things that could happen for Gator fans and I think it would be an insane atmosphere. Home-and-homes are also becoming huge ways to put your brand on display for the CFP Committee, and a win in Athens would be more impactful than a win in Jacksonville. 

The other thing is, the game has grown out of Jacksonville. As much as I love The Cocktail Party, and I know all of Gator Nation does as well, the game is too big for TIAA Bank Field. Literally. It's a logistical nightmare with long lines to get in, for food, and for the bathroom - all of which can dramatically affect the viewing experience. That is a 65,000 seat stadium and it is not meant to hold the 80,000+ people that comes with Florida-Georgia. The Swamp and Sanford Stadium hold these types of events every week, and the atmospheres would be much better than the split stadium in Jacksonville.

Jeremy Klump: Florida and Georgia keeping the game in Jacksonville will not make everybody happy, but it’s the right thing to do. Home field advantage is one of the greatest aspects of college football, however, tradition will also trump everything else. The teams have played in Jacksonville every season since 1933, other than 1994 and 1995 when the stadium being renovated.

We try to nitpick everything in today’s world, but let’s not overthink this decision. Yes, it may not be ideal for the students and families for each school, but again, the tradition is what matters most. Both schools also make good money from the game, so it’s a no-brainer to keep this tradition alive and hopefully it never ends!

Donavon Keiser: There’s no good reason to move the game to a home-and-home, and keeping it in Jacksonville should remain at the highest priority. 

The WLOCP has been a tradition for years now and tearing that down just doesn’t make any sense. Florida-Georgia has mainly been held on a neutral site since 1933 and remains one of the last neutral-site rivalry games left in college football. 

It’d be cool to have another home game to go to as a fan, but I personally don’t see a reason to leave Jax, especially now that Jacksonville is paying the schools. The economic value for the city of Jacksonville and tradition behind the WLOCP are the main reasons the game should stay in Jax, and an extra recruiting weekend means nothing compared to those other factors going for the game in Jacksonville.