We are still five weeks away from the start of the college football season, so let’s have a little fun.
Last week I wrote a column on why the Georgia-Florida game should remain in Jacksonville, where it has been since 1933, and not be moved to campus. This is something Georgia Coach Kirby Smart indicated he would like to see happen.
I asked the readers to give their thoughts on my Twitter account @MrCFB.
Here is a sampling of what they had to say. In some cases I have chosen to respond.
@FrankSavini: Yes, it is a tradition but it’s not really a neutral site. Jacksonville is to Gainesville as Atlanta is to Athens. While SSI (St. Simons Island) benefits, the state of Florida benefits most. Home/Home would be a tradition too.
It’s a neutral site game because it is not played on campus and the tickets are split 50/50. When Steve Spurrier arrived at Floria in 1990, a lot of the Gator fans wanted to move the game because they thought GEORGIA had the home-field advantage in JAX. Spurrier shot that down and proceeded to go 11-1 against Georgia. Kirby Smart said that the team with the best players usually wins. He’s right.
@uga73tom: You know I agree on your sentimental take on Ga.-Fla. Our tailgates in Jax have been adjacent for years. But there is much benefit to a home game beyond even recruiting and the university. Another home game would be a boon to Athens businesses. So I am ambivalent.
Tom. I always look forward to seeing you in Jacksonville at our tailgate. I know moving the game to campus would thrill the business community of Athens. But it’s one game, every other year. Playing in JAX is a tradition that goes back to 1933.
@rainy_steve: No. It’s a geographical disadvantage to Georgia. At a MINIMUM it should alternate between Atlanta and Jax.
Steve: See note to Frank above. I just ain’t buying the geography argument. Georgia’s Vince Dooley was 17-7-1 in JAX. Steve Spurrier was 11-1. Florida dominated after Dooley retired in 1988. Georgia has won four of the past five and looks like it's ready for a nice run. We'll see.
@NikMousa: “Remember the fans.” Exactly. Great column by @MrCFB
@pfreet: I don’t have a dog in this but it seems the game is in Jacksonville for the South Georgia fans. Savannah, Brunswick, Albany Valdosta are in Georgia, too.
Agreed. This game is a big deal to the people of South Georgia who can drive to the game and back on the same day and get to church on Sunday.
@CTREM31: Neutral site games should never be conference games.
Texas vs. Oklahoma (Dallas) and Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (Jerry World) would probably disagree. Texas vs. Oklahoma at the State Fairgrounds should be on your bucket list if you're a college football fan. And now it's going to be an SEC game.
@BoKerr: No, the games should belong to the students. More students have the opportunity to attend the games when played on campus. Not to mention the economic impact on Gainesville and Athens.
Good argument. But not enough to move the game.
@MattMarvel6: I think the recruiting issue is that sole reason to move it. End of story. Tradition shouldn’t be the reason to keep it there.
Kirby Smart has been recruiting at the national championship level for six years. One game played (or not played) in Athens every other year is going to change that? Recruiting is important. It’s the life blood of the program. But you can’t sacrifice everything on the altar of recruiting.
@Gatorbest96: Are you kidding me? This is tradition. This is split families. This is college football. The 50/50 split of this game makes it unique in college football. A family reunion for me for 42 years.
Steve: Three of my fraternity brothers and I have gone to JAX just about every year since the early 80s. It IS a family reunion for us. One of them said he would still go to JAX on that weekend even if the game isn’t here. He was kidding. At least I think he was kidding.
@JoshNAtlanta: I think Kirby’s right with missed recruiting opportunity at home. Plus it would be nice to boat race Florida BETWEEN the hedges.
Easy now, big fella. The last time the Gators were in Sanford Stadium/Dooley Field (1995) they did the boat-racing, 52-17. First time anybody had scored 50 against Georgia at home. Georgia’s on top now but historically, this game goes in cycles
@ChiroCam: No. JAX is an armpit and Kang Kirby wants to go home/home. That’s plenty enough for me.
Dear @chiroCam. Sounds like you need to work on your accommodations in JAX. Lots of nice places down there. I respect the position of head Coach Kirby Smart. I just happen to feel that the fans are being asked to give up a tradition that is part of the very fabric of college football.
But I don’t know. I could be wrong.