You kiddin’ me? Georgia and Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game? Surely, they jest.
I swear I heard it being bandied about on one of those sports radio shows the other morning. Just the thought of Georgia and Georgia Tech doing their annual conflict any place but on campus is a serious case of mental illness. In the first place, the whole city of Athens would rise up in rebellion, especially the merchants and the chamber of commerce.
They already miss out on the stimulus they might have if Jacksonville hadn’t monopolized the Florida game. And that one is locked in, as is the Texas-Oklahoma game in Dallas. Not only that, but the Georgia-Georgia Tech game is on campus. It ain’t budging.
They played once at old Ponce de Leon, the baseball park. Right now, though, let Atlanta Sports Council have its day, and let the city feast on these Alabama and Virginia Tech guests who feed our municipal coffers, and blessings be to Gary Stokan and his industrious confreres. What this amounts to is opening the season with a bowl game, and since the Chick-fil-A crowd can’t crash the BCS monopoly, here’s to the home crowd!
Another issue has risen on the scene, at the suggestion of Grant Teaff, president of the American Football Coaches Association. Dear Grant, a fine Christian gentleman, has proposed that all college teams take time to shake hands before they kick off. In other words, establish good fellowship before the trash-talking and the butt-kicking begins. Teaff’s idea has been supported by the coaches association, but it seems that there are some who want no part of such a show of softness at such a delicate time.
From where I sit, the idea has some Christian merit, but on the other hand, these kids didn’t come to the stadium to promote peace. After the game, yeah. Great idea. Some players shake hands already after the game, but that’s purely individual. I like that. But to do it under orders, like boxers who touch gloves, then are told to come out fighting, that doesn’t sell with me.
In passing, let me remind you of a tragic incident in Grant Teaff’s life. He was coach of a Texas team whose plane crashed on take-off after a game in Ohio. Some of his players were killed. Several passengers were injured, including Teaff himself. And while that has no bearing on this proposal, this might give you an indication of the origin of the suggestion.
Just where the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game goes from here, none of us can be sure. Gary Stokan has seeded ground for a preseason attraction that might take root. There was once a similar game played in New Jersey, a sort of kick-off classic. I don’t recall just what became of that, but you do know that any team that shows up to play in this Kickoff Game leaves Atlanta with a recruiting advantage. Both Georgia and Georgia Tech might keep that in mind.