Georgia-Auburn game could be sacrificed in SEC scheduling

The Georgia-Auburn rivalry includes this memorable matchup: Uga vs. Robert Baker. (Montgomery Advertiser)

The Georgia-Auburn rivalry includes this battle: Uga vs. Robert Baker. (Montgomery Advertiser)

There is a chance that SEC conference expansion will claim one significant victim: The Georgia-Auburn series.

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said Wednesday that SEC athletic directors will meet near the end of the month to discuss future football scheduling. With the conference’s addition of Texas A&M and Missouri, the two biggest questions: 1) Will the SEC go to a nine-game conference schedule? 2) Will expansion force for the end of the SEC’s annual East-West rivalry games of Georgia-Auburn and Alabama-Tennessee?

Answer to No. 1: Probably not.

Answer to No. 2: Possibly.

Georgia-Auburn is known as the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry,” dating back to 1892. They have played every year since 1898, with three exceptions: 1917, 1918 and 1943. The reasons: World War I and World War II. It appears “Conference Armageddon” may have an equal impact.

The ACC recently announced that teams will begin playing nine-game conference schedules when Pittsburgh and Syracuse officially join the league. McGarity is against the SEC increasing from eight-game schedules and does not sense there’s any movement in that direction. He said nine conference games might necessitate schools dropping a traditional local rivalry. Examples: Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State and South-Carolina-Clemson.

The future of Georgia-Auburn is less certain. Expansion will lead to schools playing six games against division opponents and two against the opposite division.  (The current breakdown is five-three.) But there are only two traditional East-West rivalries in the SEC, which could lead to schools rotating opponents from the opposite division.

“I think if you ask Alabama and Tennessee, like us and Auburn, we’d like to retain the games,” McGarity said. “But does that work? What do the other 10 schools think? Those four schools like having those games but there’s no other East-West match-up that has that piece of history to it. So I don’t where that fits in.”

He said athletic directors will study “numerous models” when they meet.

“With 14 teams, not everybody will be happy,” he said. “Some will have a problem with everything. But we’ll make decisions based on the best situation of the league.”

By Jeff Schultz

522 comments Add your comment

MDawg

February 8th, 2012
3:16 pm

Completely worth losing the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry so that we can add Mizzou and A&M to the Conference. Great plan. Really excited.
(Dripping with Sarcasm)

Coach Cool

February 8th, 2012
3:17 pm

Another layer of dirt on college sports.

Bryan G.

February 8th, 2012
3:19 pm

It would be a shame. Georgia-Auburn is a great game every year and one of the better “friendly rivalries” in sports

Abnerish

February 8th, 2012
3:19 pm

I don’t see the problem with a 9 game conference schedule. I’d rather keep Auburn and lose Tech. Even if that makes our schedule tougher.

Hollywould

February 8th, 2012
3:22 pm

Man, as a Auburn man that would suck even though the Leg Humpers have been wearing us out lately.
After all these years I believe it is even or a one game advantage. War Eagle

George Stein

February 8th, 2012
3:22 pm

Why would a nine game conference schedule affect one non-conference game?

FJR

February 8th, 2012
3:24 pm

Kinda sad, but probably necessitated. When things go down to just two cross division games, it’s way too big of an advantage for teams who get traditionally weak rivals. Add in the fact that only 4 teams in the league really give a crap about their cross division rival (the four schultz mentioned), and it’s almost a no brainer. Though it will obviously upset those four schools a lot.

As a South Carolina fan, I can tell you that Arkansas is just another team to us. I’d just assume get to see the other cross division teams more often as play them every year. As it stands we’d only play Auburn once every six years, which is way too long, especially considering I care about Auburn just as much as I care about Arkansas. If you do away with the permanent rivals you’d play each cross division team once every 3 years, which is more palatable.

Old Dawg

February 8th, 2012
3:25 pm

This is a great game for the players, fans and the media. There’s no reason to end the series. It’d be like ending Michigan-Ohio State, Southern Cal-UCLA or South Carolina-Clemmons.

On a sad note, the Oklahoma-Nebraska game is no more.

On an up note, there’s always Newt vs the Ex-wives Club.

FJR

February 8th, 2012
3:27 pm

I think McGarrity is one one of the major ones who’d oppose a 9 game SEC schedule, as it goes firmly against his “play the weakest schedule possible and win as much as possible” theory. Also I’m sure McGarrity doesn’t want to deal with playing 5 SEC road games every other year, which would not only be tough, but would also really put a dent in the checkbook, being forced to play at least 5 games outside of the 90K Sanford Stadium money making machine.

LHarding Dawg

February 8th, 2012
3:29 pm

FJR – That’s why SC has no tradition and Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and even Georgia Tech has tons of tradition.

bardawg

February 8th, 2012
3:29 pm

I think I need to check my calender .Is today April Fool’s day? This has without a doubt one of the most hair-brained and idiotic things in college football I’ve heard to date. If Mr. McGarrity pulls this one off, I’ll personally come to Athens with a large bucket of tar& a huge bag of feathers with his and Mike Slime’s name all over it. Please tell me you’re just pulling our collective chain!

GTBob

February 8th, 2012
3:29 pm

Why would a nine game conference schedule affect one non-conference game?

Because the SEC will drop their out of conference rivalry games before they will drop their guaranteed win cupcake games.

fred smith

February 8th, 2012
3:30 pm

I personally would be very dissapointed if that game got cancelled. I think that game is either number 1 or 2 for most Auburn fans living in Atlanta.

FJR

February 8th, 2012
3:32 pm

@LHarding Dawg – I’m not arguing otherwise. I’m talking pure numbers here. There are 10 schools that don’t really give a crap about their cross-division rivals. There are 4 that do. You’re only looking at it from UGA’s perspective. Consider the perspective of TAMU, Missouri, LSU, UF, USC, Arkansas, Vandy, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Miss St. If those 10 schools want to end traditional rivalries, there’s a good chance that traditional rivalries will be ended.

JacketFan

February 8th, 2012
3:33 pm

@LHardingDawg – or you guys could drop such power houses as UL-Lafayette, UAB, Coastal Carolina, Idaho State, Tenn Tech, Western Carolina, or any of the other numerous OOC cupcakes y’all play like every other team in the SEC ….

TDone

February 8th, 2012
3:33 pm

Sort of makes up for all those years the SEC had a six conference game schedule.

FJR

February 8th, 2012
3:34 pm

@GTbob Its hard for you to talk too much crap when the entire ACC conference schedule is a cupcake schedule. Or did you just forget about what happened to your CONFERENCE CHAMPION in the Orange bowl? Of course you guys are loving playing 9 conference games, it probably makes your schedules even easier.

Lon Stotts

February 8th, 2012
3:36 pm

I’m 24 years old and have been to 25 consecutive UGA-AU games. How, you ask? I was in my mother’s belly in ‘86 and got baptized by the Jordan-Hare fire hoses, and haven’t missed a game since. I grew up an Auburn fan, went to UGA undergrad and am currently in UGA Law School. I’ve been to Final Fours, Gold medal Olympic events, World Series games, EPL soccer matches, and a dozen Iron Bowls, and I can honestly say nothing holds a candle to this game every year (yes, even the Iron Bowl). The proximity and similarities of the fan bases and schools makes for such an uncomfortable juxtaposition of hate and begrudging respect. Not to mention, aside from the past few years the rivalry has been one of the most competitive and evenly matched in all of sports. Auburn leads by what, one game in over 110 match-ups, and UGA leads in points by about 50???

In a sport that’s received more bad press and negative vibes in the past couple of years than over the course of my lifetime, ending this series would signal the death of the last unadulterated aspect of the sport: the sanctity of the games themselves.

But hey, $$$ right?

Gordon

February 8th, 2012
3:37 pm

What they are doing is dropping the permanent cross division opponent so the rotation of the other cross division opponents goes faster. If you have 14 teams and only 8 conference games, that is the price you pay. The ACC got it right – 9 conference games. You keep the permanent opponent and rotate the other 6 in 2 at a time. You play everyone in the other division twice every 6 years.

For teams like UGA, USC, and UF that have a permanent in-state game, you just have 2 games to play with instead of 3. One could be a BCS opponent (e.g. Colorado) and one could be a cupcake, or you could have two cupcakes.

If it ever gets to 16 teams, I think you have to go to 4 pods.

Dawg in gatorville

February 8th, 2012
3:37 pm

UGA-Auburn friendly rivalry?? I hate Auburn! Those trashy inbreeds! I want UGA to play them and BEAT the snot out of them every year!!

LHarding Dawg

February 8th, 2012
3:37 pm

Jacket Fan – Do you really want to compare schedules. I mean 10-1 against Georgia and you want to talk trash. Get real, for Georgia it’s a cupcake game.

82Dawg

February 8th, 2012
3:38 pm

Good to see the troll GTBob is on the UGA blog again.

FJR

February 8th, 2012
3:38 pm

@jacketFan Sorry that we don’t get to play Duke, Wake, Maryland, UNC, BC, etc every year. If we could put cupcakes like that on our schedule, sure we might beef up the OOC games. Talk crap about the SEC’s OOC scheduling when your conference schedules stop being a joke. Clemson looks like the best team in your conference when they’re playing ACC teams and then gets manhandled by a middle of the pack SEC team (South Carolina) and the Big (L)East champion destroys them.

LHarding Dawg

February 8th, 2012
3:40 pm

What about the Florida and LSU game. I’m sure both sets of fans love that game and would like to see it continue.

George Stein

February 8th, 2012
3:41 pm

Pretty sure Tennessee doesn’t think UNC is a gimme, FJR.

FJR

February 8th, 2012
3:43 pm

@LHarding Dawg Most of the LSU and UF fans I know don’t really care about it. Only the ones in the panhandle really care about it, but the panhandle is mostly FSU territory at this point anyway. The mid florida UF fans don’t really care about the LSU game. UF fans consider Alabama just as big of a rival as LSU and they don’t want to go 6 years between playing Alabama. There’s not really any tradition there that’s even remotely comparable to UGA Auburn.

GTBob

February 8th, 2012
3:44 pm

Sorry that we don’t get to play Duke, Wake, Maryland, UNC, BC, etc every year.

Is that list really worse then Ole Miss, Miss St, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Vandy? UGA will probably only play one ranked team this year. Wow, what a tough schedule.

no dog

February 8th, 2012
3:44 pm

Appalachian State would be mad at you guys if you dropped them…

Frontman

February 8th, 2012
3:45 pm

The truth hurts, doesn’t it, FJR? You’re a bit touchy about it…

FJR

February 8th, 2012
3:46 pm

@George Stein Sure, but most of the other contenders in the SEC would. Again, when your conference champ stops getting blown out by their SEC rivals and then DESTROYED in their bowl game, then come and talk to me about how the SEC schedules patsy OOC games. The two best teams in your league looked AWFUL out of conference this year. Tech was one of the better teams in the ACC and has been one of the better ACC teams and they’ve done what against UGA recently?

Bluestreak

February 8th, 2012
3:46 pm

I’d rather give up the GA – GATech rivalry than GA – Auburn. More tradition and better competition in the South’s Oldest Rivalry than in Good Ol’ Fashion Hate.

But, I’d be glad to get rid of another game and keep both.

Interested Bystander

February 8th, 2012
3:47 pm

I still think moving Auburn to the East and Missouri to the West makes the most long term sense. Then that Auburn/Georgia game gets preserved and the geography works better .

FJR

February 8th, 2012
3:47 pm

@Frontman What the heck are you talking about? Sure the SEC schedules relatively weak OOC schedules. But as a conference we more or less dominate the ACC on the field. Clemson is perhaps the premier team in the ACC right now and South Carolina, a middle of the pack SEC team, has beaten them soundly three years in a row now. Tech is one of the better teams in the ACC, what have they done against UGA?

ACC Apologist

February 8th, 2012
3:48 pm

But, but, but…….

Jay in VA

February 8th, 2012
3:48 pm

Why not a 9 game SEC slate to preserve these traditional games and add more excitement into the season lineup? I don’t see how that would doom the Georgia Tech rivalry game. By my math, 9 conference games and the GT matchup would still allow 2 slots for the little sisters of the poor.

ozzfest

February 8th, 2012
3:48 pm

GREAT, THAT MEANS ONE SEASON…REAL SOON…GREG McGARRITY IS GOING TO HAVE US PLAY A WORSE HOME SCHEDULE THAN THIS DREADFUL 2012 SCHEDULE.

MY GOD.

GTBob

February 8th, 2012
3:49 pm

The two best teams in your league looked AWFUL out of conference this year.

Virginia Tech’s only OOC loss was in overtime in a BCS game. That is considered awful?

LHarding Dawg

February 8th, 2012
3:49 pm

FJR – They have played 58 times. Florida ownes the series with 30 wins vs. 25, with three ties. Pretty good rivals with a lot of tradition.

George Stein

February 8th, 2012
3:50 pm

We haven’t done much against UGA, FJR. No question about it. But UGA is also going through the longest period of sustained success in their history, so we have to keep things in perspective.

As to Clemson, South Carolina was not a middle of the pack SEC team. They went 11-2 and are so pissed they didn’t play in the SECCG that they want to change the rules.

Lastly, the point I was trying to make about UNC was that a middle of the pack ACC team is typically just as mediocre as a middle of the pack SEC team.

RxDawg

February 8th, 2012
3:50 pm

Meh, chances are this won’t happen.

I’m actually in favor of moving to a 9 game conference schedule… but I know the coaches aren’t. Still, I’d rather see another SEC game added to the slate then San Jose St.

If they don’t do that, it’s possible they would scrap the east and west divisions. Each team has 6 “permenent” SEC teams they play plus 2 rotating. I’m not in favor of this, but I’ll understand if they do it.

If anything is in danger, I’d say it’s the out of conference rival games. Those UGA vs GT or UF vs FSU at the end of the season. The ACC has already made a 9 game schedule. If the SEC does the same then they will really be in danger. And… I’m actually ok with that.

FJR

February 8th, 2012
3:51 pm

@GT Bob – So you’re going ahead and granting that GT isn’t going to be ranked at the end of the year when they play UGA and is going to have another failure of a year? (there’s no way South Carolina won’t be ranked when they play UGA, they’re going to start top 10 and couldn’t fall fast enough to be non-top 25)

Dang, it must suck to be a Tech fan, when you use the fact that you, yourself, believe your year is going to be a failure as a way to attack UGA.

GTBob

February 8th, 2012
3:51 pm

I still think moving Auburn to the East and Missouri to the West makes the most long term sense.

What do you do about the Auburn – Alabama game then? There is no way that game is getting sacrificed.

Jay in VA

February 8th, 2012
3:53 pm

Amen Ozzfest! I’m starting to yearn for the days of Damon Evans, panties in his lap and all. At least he had the cajones to schedule an interesting lineup of games.

GTBob

February 8th, 2012
3:53 pm

Dang, it must suck to be a Tech fan, when you use the fact that you, yourself, believe your year is going to be a failure as a way to attack UGA.

Sorry, it’s called being realistic. I know UGA fans aren’t used to the concept.

SOGADOG

February 8th, 2012
3:55 pm

Who would have thought ten years ago the Texas AM vs Texas and Oklahoma vs Nebraska games would end. Money trumps tradition everytime.

Gordon

February 8th, 2012
3:56 pm

If I were a UGA fan, I would be furious about dropping either Auburn or Tech to keep a cupcake. Auburn is a great rival, and even though UGA has won 10 of 11 against Tech the game is almost always competitive. Some recent final scores are 20-14, 14-7, 15-12, 42-45, 30-24, 45-34. That is a lot more interesting than beating New Mexico State 56-7.

82Dawg

February 8th, 2012
3:56 pm

I thought every year sucked if you were a Tech fan….

FJR

February 8th, 2012
3:56 pm

@george Stein

Combining east and west, SC was certainly middle of the pack. And I’m a South Carolina alum, grad and fan. But we clearly were well behind Alabama, LSU and Arkansas and were more or less equal with UGA. Tie for fourth in a 12 team league is certainly middle of the pack.

I also enjoy that you’re trying to put UNC who was 3-5 in the ACC as the same exact tier as Tennessee (1-7) in the weaker division of the SEC. UNC was middle of the pack in the ACC (and got dominated by a future SEC team in their bowl game). Tennessee was arguably the worst team in the SEC this year. Their lone conference win was an overtime home win against Vandy, in overtime, on senior day, that Vandy lost more than Tennessee won. Equivocating Tennessee and UNC as both “middle of the pack” shows you’re reaching there.

GTBob

February 8th, 2012
3:58 pm

I thought every year sucked if you were a Tech fan….

Nah, its not so bad because we never have unrealistic expectations.

HighTech

February 8th, 2012
3:59 pm

Hate to see tradition going away. Tech vs Auburn used to be a good rivalry. It never gets old beating Auburn. The UGA vs Auburn game is the one time a year I can feel happy for the Dawgs.