Does Jacksonville make Georgia-Florida bigger?

The announcement that CBS again will televise the Georgia-Florida game this season with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff surprised no one, I’m sure. CBS loves that game and has aired it every year since 2003. It would have been news had they not chosen to televise it. 

The annual meeting of the Bulldogs and Gators in Jacksonville and all the fan hoopla that surrounds it is rightfully viewed as one of those colorful traditional rivalry spectacles that makes college football worth watching, even if you aren’t a particular fan of either school.

Which is perhaps one of the best arguments for keeping the game in Jacksonville. Sure, it helps that Florida and Georgia are usually battling for the SEC East title, but that’s not what has elevated this game to the level of Oklahoma-Texas or USC-Notre Dame over the years. 

No, it’s the celebratory aspect of what the school presidents would prefer you not call the World’s Greatest Outdoor Cocktail Party that makes this a special game. And I’m not talking about the drinking (though I will say that even if Florida’s prez was successful in getting the number of alcohol-serving establishments around the stadium reduced, it probably wouldn’t cut back on the number of folks getting blitzed; it would just mean more business for the bars that were open or more people bringing their own).

What elevates this game is the way Georgia students and fans turn a trip to Jacksonville into a fall beach vacation. It’s the elaborate tailgating and partying. It’s the 50-50 split of the crowd inside the stadium. It’s the setting by the St. Johns River.

Yes, I agree with Mark Richt that Jacksonville isn’t really a “neutral” site, but that never seemed to matter during the Dooley years domination of the series by the Dogs. Yes, Jacksonville is overpriced and the traffic is terrible. And, yes, Georgia-Florida held every fourth year at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta or even on a home-and-home basis in Athens and Gainesville still would be a major SEC matchup every year. 

But would it be a lock for a national television slot? Would it garner the national attention that it does in Jacksonville? Would thousands of Bulldogs and Gators fans really flock to Atlanta a week before the game? Can you see the fans really tailgating at the same level in the the railroad gulch around the Georgia Dome? Would Georgia-Florida outside of Jacksonville remain one of the marquee games of the college football season?

I’m not so sure.

(A computer glitch temporarily took this post down and deleted any comments that had been made. Feel free to repost your comments.)

67 comments Add your comment

FIRST

July 8th, 2009
12:43 pm

Bill Queen

July 8th, 2009
12:46 pm

The leghumpers will lose again this year.

Gator in the Hootch

July 8th, 2009
12:52 pm

The only big thing in Jacksonville is the score differential by which Florida beats Georgia almost every year. The score differential might not be big this year. It might be enormous. So much so that the game might finally become home and home, which it should.

Kim

July 8th, 2009
12:54 pm

But would it be a lock for a national television slot? yes, most of FL’s games are televised
Would it garner the national attention that it does in Jacksonville? no
Would thousands of Bulldogs and Gators fans really flock to Atlanta a week before the game? hell no, to do what? hang out at the world congress center?
Can you see the fans really tailgating at the same level in the the railroad gulch around the Georgia Dome? NO! Tailgating around the dome is non-existent.
Would Georgia-Florida outside of Jacksonville remain one of the marquee games of the college football season? sure, people will always watch the Gators

Gator Growl

July 8th, 2009
12:55 pm

I agree totally with the article. I think that the reputation and tradition of the game in Jax does make it a unique experience that media wants to be a part of.

Cuz

July 8th, 2009
1:07 pm

It would be televised if held elsewhere but it would lose the mystic.

Cuz

July 8th, 2009
1:09 pm

Of course no national tv when Saint Tebow leaves us for a higher calling. Maybe the same cable channel that hosts Wayne’s World will carry it.

dawgstephen

July 8th, 2009
1:09 pm

ok, then lets let the VOLS and GATORS play in NASHVILLE every year. Look at all the attractions that the gators could see and do…and all the vacation they could take, a great NFL stadium SPLIT 50/50 and a NEUTRAL site…..dont think so??? yeah i didnt either.

HOME AND HOME for the dawgs and gators

Cuz

July 8th, 2009
1:13 pm

But what about my fall weekend at Saint Simons Island?

Anthony Hopkins

July 8th, 2009
1:19 pm

The fact is, Jacksonville is at least as much Dawg territory as it is the Gators’ as far as the indigenous fan base. Dooley knew this and dominated. Richt is doing himself and his team no favors by being scared of playing in Jacksonville. Win, make it your own like Dooley did, and then you’ll enjoy having the game in Jacksonville, Richt. What one man (Dooley) can do, another man can do.

jconservative

July 8th, 2009
1:20 pm

The game needs to be played on the respective campuses.

Too Easy

July 8th, 2009
1:23 pm

Cuz: This topic is boring. I – like you – attend SSI and Jax every year and enjoy the bigger picture, so we think it should stay there. Those who wish they could go – but can’t – want it somewhere else. Loved the ’70s and ’80s when we were charmed; ’90s and ’00s, not so much. Location isn’t the issue, and most of us Dawgs know that.

Richie

July 8th, 2009
1:27 pm

Do Georgia fans really enjoy driving for 5-6 hours, pay inflated 3 night minium hotel rates, pay
current gas prices to go to Jax, while Florida fans make the one hour drive back to G’ville after
the game? “Neutral Jacksonville”…come on. “Neutral Atlanta”…come on.

College football belongs on college campuses..Athens and Gainesville would be electric if that
game went home and home…and CBS would love it.

Saint Simons

July 8th, 2009
1:28 pm

45-42!!!!!!! hahahahahahahahhahahahahaha

coachdawg 2000

July 8th, 2009
1:31 pm

right now we could play it anywhere and be unhappy because we have been the proverbial tackling dummy for about 20 years.it’s not jax but our psyche that is the problem in this series. our team/coach need to toughen up and develop an attitude of we can beat yall anywhere,anyplace, anytime. but instead we blame location of the game rather than our own shortcomings. GATA in jax,fayetteville,stillwater,nashville,knoxville,atlanta, and Athens and restore order in the bulldog nation!

rocksteadyfreddie

July 8th, 2009
1:33 pm

2 comments on why I think the game stays in Jax:

1.) Cash. Both schools make more money over a 4 year period in Jax than they would on a 4 year home and home. The City of jacksonville will sweeten the deal this year, I am sure.
2.) A smaller venue (Georgia Dome) means each school will get 4500 less tickets to the game. Neither AD wants to deal with that backlash.

do you really think people will show up in Atlanta on the Tuesday before this game. Going to Atlanta isn’t concidered a “vacation destination” for the folks that live in the State.

braveswin

July 8th, 2009
1:38 pm

The site doesn’t get you beat, the other teams players gets you beat.I don’t have a problem with Jax, and I don’t have a problem with home and home. If they go to home and home they should still split the tix half and half because that is what makes the game special, not the field not the town it’s the fans that make it fun.

Who cares...

July 8th, 2009
1:42 pm

…football is football – let the games begin!

NFLDAWG

July 8th, 2009
1:43 pm

The one advantage that Georgia had playing in Jacksonville that went away when Spurrier took over in Gainesville is rarely mentioned. Prior to 1990, the Gators home field in Gainesville was astroturf. The Gator Bowl in Jacksonville was natural. Dawgs were accustomed to the natural grass (Sanford Stadium), whereas the Gators had to make an adjustment from playing on the fake turf. That was probably the only “home field” advantage that the Dawgs ever enjoyed in Jacksonville.

Another factor that contributed and still contributes to who wins this game is scheduling. In the Dooley years, Georgia typically had an off week or a patsy prior to the annual game in Jax. The Gators normally played Auburn the week before. Since the expansion of the SEC in 1992, Florida has done a better job of scheduling either an off week or an easier opponent prior to the game in Jacksonville. 2007 Georgia had an off week prior to the game and won. 2008 Georgia played at LSU the prior week and got hammered by Florida. 2009 Georgia has an off week prior to the Florida game, while the Gators travel to Starkeville the week prior. 2010 Gators have an off week and the Dawgs host Arkansas on the week prior. Just something to chew on.

Mikey

July 8th, 2009
1:45 pm

My God !!!!! Please hurry up with the beginning of the season so we don’t see another one of these blog topics on UGA-FL in Jax.
This is probably the 6th one since the spring between Tony Barnhart, Bill King, and the UGA beat writer.
There is nothing left to be said on this topic.
Please – please find something fresh to blog about Bill….

74 dawg fan

July 8th, 2009
1:45 pm

In south Georgia the game in Jaxsonville is a very big deal. On Wednesday before the game autos begin passing by flying their flags and really picks up as the game draws nearer. On the Sunday after the game they begin their journey back to north Georgia, but usually with the flags fying only after a victory(not true for all Dawg fans). UGA can and will win in Jaxsonville as this these games has always been one that runs in streaks. Do not listen to Atlanta and move this game from Jaxsonville.

Island Dawg

July 8th, 2009
2:00 pm

Do you selfish a$$ Atlanta people not get that we have to drive 5 hours for EVERY game while you drive one? Throw us a bone here. I sincerely hate you people have to do a Halloween beach trip. Tears all over the place.

uga_b

July 8th, 2009
2:01 pm

None of our road games are “neutral” either, but our road record is phenomenal. It’s not the site; it’s the good work UF’s coaches have done. The buy week is the biggest advantage.

This game is like a second bowl game, but better. Better attended, better looking, and better weather. Even though Saint Tebow and the crew look good this year, I will happily make the pilgrimage. GO DAWGS.

UGA Senior

July 8th, 2009
2:03 pm

Keep it in Jax! the students love it and plan for it months in advance!!!

Too Easy

July 8th, 2009
2:03 pm

Richie: Yes, to your first several questions. You ever been? It’s a fall vacation with a football game.

Island Dawg

July 8th, 2009
2:06 pm

Good point, b. UF still has the record for most points scored on us in Sanford. Also Richie, I would be curious to know how many games you view outside of the friendly confines of your den or suburban strip-mall sports bar

Too Easy

July 8th, 2009
2:07 pm

Island Dawg: Selfish-a$$ Atlanta people here, but experienced enough to know you’re correct, sir. Don’t cry for me, Demere.

superDawg

July 8th, 2009
2:17 pm

I think it would be better at home and home.However it has been in Jax.since 1933.The FLA.gay crowd need to pony up and see athens a little more often.I know you gayturds will say only team to post 50 plus points on us between the hedges,but that will never happen again.Hope to see you in athens soon.GO DAWGS AND TO DEEP HELL WITH tek.

Gatorz5

July 8th, 2009
2:18 pm

I don’t own a Kevlar vest so I wouldn’t go to Atlanta to see the game. There is no place to tailgate and the dome is a lousy place to see a game, any game. Keep it in Jax so we can all enjoy the beaches, golf, fishing, and a great place to party.

Arlo

July 8th, 2009
2:37 pm

Apparently Jax is irrelevant. UGA has the record over the years…46–38–2 & have outscored Florida
1,388 to 1,664. Why move? Hopefully Florida’s 15 minutes are over!

superDawg

July 8th, 2009
2:38 pm

I don’t blame the gayturd’s for wanting to keep it Jax.Their campus in gainsville is nothing but a TRUCK STOP anyway.

superDawg

July 8th, 2009
2:40 pm

Pardon my spelling.

SuperB

July 8th, 2009
2:47 pm

Playing in Jacksonville makes perfect sense– if you are a Gator. For Georgia– it musters all the intelligence of a banana slug– to keep playing there. Damon Evans should have ended this by now. Play them home and away, not– away and away. Go play golf and get drunk on your own time!

JaxDawg

July 8th, 2009
2:47 pm

Like most things in life $$$ will make the ultimate call. The game is not leaving Jax for 2 reasons:

1. There is a LOT of UGA contribution money in and around St. Simons. Last time there was serious discussion, several donors made it clear that if the game left Jax, their money would leave UGA.

2. with the 50/50 split each school gets aprox. 35,000 tix or so, if it goes to a home and home the visiting school would only get an allotment of around 10,000 tix, that means every other year 25,000 season ticket holders at each school would be denied tickets to the game. When Dooley was still AD he addressed this point at a GA/FL meeting that he spoke at in Jax. He mentioned that at that level a signifigant portion of the folks that would not get tickets are at the 10K ANNUAL donation level or above and neither school wants the headache of telling any donor at that level that he/she won’t be able to purchase a ticket to the game. With the current state of the economy it’s definitely not a good time to tick off donors.

I’ve said it before, I firmly believe all of the talk of moving the game is a negotiation tactic by Damon to strengthen his position as they negotiate the next contract. It’s like buying a house or a car you never let the seller know how bad you want it, you look for reasons not to buy it to put yourself in a stronger negotiating position.

The game will remain in Jax, so everyone should just relax or get over it depending on which side of the fence you’re on.

Next topic…

dawgs

July 8th, 2009
3:05 pm

all you florida fans when georgia beat your this don,t have a heart atack you florida fans don,t have any class and will never have any class

uuugh.

July 8th, 2009
3:06 pm

I think I have read this same blog and the exact same responses 10 times now.

Leave it in J’ville. We need to play some game in Florida to help recruiting there and I would sure rather it be the WLOCP than the Citrus bowl every year (Can you spell Citrus without USC?).

Mostly we need to keep the fat cats that pay the players salaries happy…and those people like golfing down there every year.

The more we talk about where the game is played, the bigger deal it becomes. The bigger deal it becomes, the more tempted a reporter will be to as Richt about it, which increases the likelihood he answers and has that answer blown even further out of proportion.

So SHUT UP about where the game is played already. Can’t we talk about how much we look forward to seeing this year’s team? Let’s find a way to show them that we beleive in them instead of complaining about the location of the damned game.

jimmy

July 8th, 2009
3:11 pm

leave well enough alone.uf pres seem’s to be of the
same lacking mentality as uga’s.if you fool around with tradition either a dawg or a gator will eventually bite

Drew-G-A

July 8th, 2009
3:15 pm

As long as both teams are always in the talk for National Contention than yes. Actually, let’s face it, these are two great teams in the SEC and it is probably the second biggest rivalry in the conference. So I think it’s safe to say that the game will always be nationally televised no matter where it is played.

I do think that if they move it away from Jacksonville, then they should find a way for it to have the same excitement and pagaentry. that it has always had in Jacksonville

Richie

July 8th, 2009
3:16 pm

Hey Island Dog and Too Easy,

I’m a network television camera op…been doing the UF-UGA game since 1989, along with football
games all over the SEC for twenty years…my “sports bar” is running the low end zone camera,
occasionally shooting obnoxious, misinformed fans.

Again, college football belongs on college campuses. And, Sanford Stadium and the G-Dome
are very television friendly:)

Derrick

July 8th, 2009
3:16 pm

Speaking of the locations in terms of geography, Jacksonville is the closest u will get when it comes to a neutral site. Despite the fact that the game is played in North Florida, Jacksonville is approx only 17 miles from the Ga-Fla border on I-95. That is not very far when u are on the road. This game is more than a game it is a tradition, an institution. Sometime u have to leave well enough alone. If it is not broken there is no reason to fix it. This venue is as good as it will ever get.

shards

July 8th, 2009
3:17 pm

Hell no. Why move the game? College football is supposed to be about traditions. See? Yes, winning is huge. Tradition is far more important. right now, unfortunately the tradition is to lose far more than our share. Easy to change that.

My dad’s side are all U of F folks. They cannot help it, they are long, long time Floridians. Many of them played for the Gators and one cousin played on the 1960s S Spurrier teams. I grew up in Atlanta and attended UGA as did my sister and tons of my Georgia side family but with one brother a Seminole. Go figure.

If UGA wins two of the next 3,4 or 5 games, then over the last 10 years, it would be nearly 50/50 going to back to 2004.

Win in JAX AND WE HAVE NO ISSUES. FUN TRIP IT IS.

SHARDS,UGA 1973

Cuz

July 8th, 2009
3:18 pm

I don’t golf and I don’t saltwater fish. But the live oaks and the Pier at Mallory are an attraction that cannot be beat in late Fall. Oh and there is a football game an hour and a half away.

John

July 8th, 2009
3:44 pm

I like the game in Jax, but I think it’s original intentions were to showcase two teams in a larger stadium than what both campuses had. Now that UGA and UF seat 90+, going to Jax is not as great as it looks. I’m all for not having to travel to Jax to see the Dawgs play, but lest we forget we dominated the series from the 70’s-80’s, so much so the overal series is still somewhat lopsided to the Dogs. I just do NOT want any UF fan ever having the pleasure of watching the Gators win in Athens ever again. I was at UGA when they last visited and put up 50+ points. Actually, I don’t want any Gator fans having the “privelage” of watching the Gators play in Athens.
Do keep it in Jax, don’t bring it to the Dome. That would really stink. The Dome is not a place for this game. This game is for tailgating. Next thing we know, “underground” will be promoting itself as the place to tailgate for GA/FL. Think about it.

jdawg

July 8th, 2009
3:46 pm

I just had to laugh when I read the Prez of Urban nation wanted to cut down on SHOTS at the landing….I guess he needs to ride up to St. Simons also and see if he can control that beach also. Folks, it is what it is…a large college game, on a national stage….and I have said before State of Georgia residents, I do not want to give up the sales tax every other year. When you get your tax bill this year think of the GAME…haha…jdawg

ROHO

July 8th, 2009
3:47 pm

I am from SSI and request that only intelligent, mature UGA students come down for the GA-FL game this year. Please keep the illiterate, red-neck ones in Athens or Atl. You really embarrased the school last year with your behavior. Otherwise move the game to the concrete jungle of Atl. and leave our beaches. And yes, I’m a graduate of UGA.

Cuz

July 8th, 2009
3:49 pm

Underground, tailgating without tailgates.

Cuz

July 8th, 2009
3:51 pm

ROHO, that will probably happen about the time Pigs learn how to get airborne.

Captain

July 8th, 2009
4:01 pm

The whole argument about the location of the Georgia-Florida game is as silly as it is senseless by some who “claim” to be Georgia fans. The case for moving it out of Jacksonville on the part of some “so called” Georgia fans, is embarassing and rather pathetic.

It appears to me, as a wise and seasoned Georgia alum, and native Georgian who is virtually always right, that there are two groups who “claim” to be Georgia fans that continually insist the game be moved from Jax, 1) the ones can’t get tickets nor time off to go to the game, 2) the transplants from up North who have absolutely no regard for a 76 yr old tradition we’ve enjoyed for many years prior to their arrival in Metro Atlanta. Late October at the Beach, a Georgia Bulldog Tradition worth honoring and preserving.

The game is just fine being played in Jacksonville, the only thing missing is our side winning more often.

Cuz

July 8th, 2009
4:27 pm

Any truth to the rumor the UF Prez is going to have Gideons handing out New Testaments at the gates so he can change the name to the “World’s Largest Outdoor Tent Revival:? And where is he going to find a tent that big?

Cuz

July 8th, 2009
4:30 pm

Richie, if you keep shooting obnoxious drunk fans they will lock you up.

JenniferGO Dawgs

July 8th, 2009
4:37 pm

Are you there to tailgate or to watch the game? I am there to watch the game! Tailgating is fun but really what is more important, hmmmmmmmm GAME? Or TAILGATING? I say alternate Jacksonville and the Dome, because it is not neutral, never has been, even when we were kicking your tails with Dooley (THE GREAT ONE!). Back to my question…..The GAME is more important, so lets play some football! GOOOOOOOOO DAWGS!!!!!!!

dawgstephen

July 8th, 2009
4:51 pm

UGA-FLA in JAX makes as much sense as UT- FLA in Nashville. wanna go there? i thought so. home and home.

dawgstephen

July 8th, 2009
4:57 pm

As fun as jacksonville is, and I have been there plenty of times to tell about it, there is nothing like a Saturday afternoon in Athens. How many UGA fans have ever gotten to see a game in the swamp? I do not consider what happened in the 90’s in the 2 yrs of home and home as even relevant. Goff was coaching and now we have Richt.

Folks remember, if not for “tradition”, we would have left Baton Rouge last year for a HOME GAME IN ATHENS WITH THE GATORS NOT IN JAX!!!!

HOME AND HOME

chazzo

July 8th, 2009
5:30 pm

Jax is awesome. Leave it alone. It is a great tradition. Home and home would hurt the rivalry and both teams to some degree. Despite the difference in milage, the town itself is pretty divided and is close to the georgia line. It is the one issue on which I disagree with Richt. Go down there and kick some tail. Don’t whine about a few hours and a few degrees. Georgia used to own that town every October. The key is keep the week prior open. Dooley did it all those years, and it was one of the first changes Spurier made when he got to UF. I would be interested to know what the overall record in the series is for the team that has the idle week prior.

chazzo

July 8th, 2009
5:43 pm

I’d like to recant that last bit about bye weeks. I looked at old schedules. UGA was tearing it up through the 70s and 80s without bye weeks. They did schedule light teams, though (Tulane and Richmond) not LSU at home. Bottom line, just go down there and win… lose the doubt, don’t try to make excuses or finesse it. Just win it.

Cuz

July 8th, 2009
5:44 pm

Jennifer, there is a game on the last Saturday in October in that big stadium across from the Landing? Who knew?

Cuz

July 8th, 2009
5:50 pm

chazzo, Pope Spurrier has already ex-communicated you. Too late to recant.

johnnie Ray

July 8th, 2009
6:46 pm

Lets face it people….. Florida has the better football program.UGA had it during the 70s and 80s. CMR needs to get on the ball.If he doesnt show vast improvement soon with the defense allowing so many points being scored on the dawgs, well then Markies a$$ should be grass. Willie Martinez is simply in over his head. He needs to be a division II coach in a nutshell. If Booboos #s dont improve in short yardage and red zone situations well then his a$$ should be grass too. Im tired of seeing my dawgs getting blown out and struggling with teams like Vanderbilt. We need an Urban Meyer who has a proven record and performs day in and day out. Hope CMR gets it done because Im growing a little tired of him not winning the BIG and Crucial games.

dUmB DAwg

July 8th, 2009
6:55 pm

tHIs iS a stUPId tOPiC aND eVErBoDy kNOWs tHAt bOtH fLOridA aND gEORgIa aRE bIg sTAtEs. JaCKsonViLLe iS onLY A bIG cITY. tHis iS sO dUMb……..

Natureboy809

July 9th, 2009
11:04 am

If he thinks that Florida wouldn’t have many fans in Atlanta, he must not come to Atlanta very often. There are tons of band wagon jort wearers here.

MaconKnight

July 9th, 2009
1:17 pm

keep the game in JAX. You don’t here Texas saying move there game with OKLA. to home and home from Dallas, even though they have lost 6 out of the last 9 games they have play OKLA. STOP B!@#$HING about where this game is played. If you don’t want to go to JAX then stay home, WATCH the game on TV.

AltamahaDawg

July 9th, 2009
1:28 pm

The one thing that does not make J-ville game any more special, is the 19th blog about it in the past month.

SSI gator

July 9th, 2009
3:30 pm

roho -

Then there would not be any GA fans here at all

Allen

July 10th, 2009
12:42 am

The game should alternate between Atlanta and Jacksonville every other year. Neutral sites. Crowd still split 50-50. Same tradition. No home and home. Certainly NOT 1 of every 4 years in Atlanta. Why should Georgia and all its Georgia fans be so intent on enriching our southern neighbor at our own expense each year? Let’s share the wealth, folks. It’s only fair. Georgia Dome / Alltel Stadium / Georgia Dome / Alltel Stadium . . . Atlanta / Jacksonville / Atlanta / Jacksonville . . . it’s not that difficult.

tim

July 10th, 2009
3:39 pm

Amazing I don’t remember the UGA fans whinning about moving the game in the 70’s most of the 80’s and for that matter a large part of the 60′.But now that you are having your head handed to you every year you want to whine and cry. BOO HOO its not fair. Shut up deal with it tell your coach to get better. See you this fall at the next bloodletting. GO GATORS

Dawg Grad from 1975

July 13th, 2009
2:12 am

The GA Islands needthis game for economic reasons.The Guv will never allow this game to go to Atlanta.

Candice

July 18th, 2009
12:48 am

So, when exactly is this Florida-Georgia game thing?
No one freaking tells me and i kind of want to know