Georgia fans put up with the fact that our “home” game with Florida every other year takes place in Jacksonville, but how would you feel if the Dogs gave up another game in Athens, say, in 2010, to play a nationally televised high-profile nonconference game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta?
It’s a possibility, according to coach Mark Richt. The Athens Banner-Herald reports that when Richt spoke to the Augusta Bulldog Club Monday night an audience member asked what he could do about Alabama’s Nick Saban scheduling games in Atlanta, seen as a recruiting plus. “We’re working a deal that could possibly happen,” Richt said. “Maybe even the year after this.” He added, however, that a lot would have to happen for the deal to fall into place and “it’s really more of a pipedream than anything anybody should get excited about.”
Richt said somebody currently on Georgia’s schedule (which hasn’t been officially announced) would have to agree to come off in order for the deal to happen, and he’s not optimistic. But he did tease that “we think we have one team that everybody would be excited about.”
I’m of a mixed mind on this. On the surface, Georgia playing a Southern Cal or UCLA or Oklahoma in Atlanta for a national prime-time audience would seem like a golden opportunity to gain great exposure for the program, and a win in a game like that gives your team a boost with all those voters in the polls, as was the case after Alabama destroyed Clemson last season in Atlanta. Plus, as has been proved when the Dogs have played bowl games or SEC Championship games there, UGA fans can make the dome rock when they want to.
But the devil’s in the details, and for fans it might prove to be a raw deal. For one thing, the Georgia Dome doesn’t seat as many as Sanford Stadium (as has been pointed out when moving the Florida game there in alternate years has been discussed). And despite Falcons fans giving it their best shot, the area of downtown around the dome is not exactly prime tailgating territory. It would have to be a pretty great matchup to make me happy with giving up a Saturday in Athens.
So what do you think? A great idea or not worth the effort?
BULLDOG BITES: Richt also revealed Monday night that the NCAA nixed him attending Georgia signee Chris Burnette’s graduation ceremony since the player will just be a speaker, not the valedictorian. After all the posturing the NCAA did about this issue, that’s a typically hypocritical result. … C.J. Byrd has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, UGA says, making him the fifth Dog to sign as an undrafted free agent. With the six Dogs who were drafted, that makes 11 members of the 2008 team going to the pros. … All three games of this weekend’s Diamond Dogs home series against Florida are sold out, UGA says. But tickets are still available for the return game against Jacksonville State Wednesday night and the final regular season home series against Vandy, May 8-10. … I caught Matthew Stafford on Letterman Monday night, and while his delivery of the Top 10 thoughts that went through his mind on draft day wasn’t the smoothest performance by an athlete delivering one of Dave’s Top 10s, he didn’t embarrass himself. Best lines: “Holy crap, I think I just pulled a hamstring” and “Why does Jessica Simpson keep calling me?” You can watch it here.