Could SEC changes one day push Tech off UGA’s schedule? (Updated)

Should the Georgia-Georgia Tech game be protected amid changing scheduling trends? (Associated Press)

Should the Georgia-Georgia Tech game be protected amid changing scheduling trends? (Associated Press)

There’s been a lot of speculation of late that the impending SEC Network being put together with ESPN eventually will force the conference’s schools to go against the majority of coaches’ wishes and implement a nine-game conference schedule.

Already last year, when the conference decided to stay at eight conference games, Commissioner Mike Slive noted that the SEC was “mindful that moving forward our strength of schedule will be a factor” as the new championship playoff takes effect. “This is something that we’re going to watch,” he added.

And, of course, Alabama’s Nick Saban is on record as favoring a nine-game schedule because of the cross-divisional scheduling problems. “Under the current system we have guys who will never play Georgia or Florida,” Saban said last summer. “That’s not right. If we have to play nine conference games to get that fixed then that is what we need to do.”

So the nine-game thing was already looming on the horizon. Now, the thinking goes, the arrival of the SEC Network will make the change inevitable because the so-called worldwide leader in sports will be calling the shots in the new television partnership, and they’d much rather be selling, say, Georgia vs. Texas A&M or even Tennessee vs. Mississippi State than a game against one of the directional-named cupcakes that would be displaced on SEC schools’ schedules by a ninth conference opponent.

Mark Richt was asked about the prospects of a nine-game conference slate this week at a Touchdown Club meeting in Athens and the Athens Banner-Herald reports he seemed to think that’s most likely to happen if the conference expands again to 16 teams. If the SEC expands again, Richt said, “I think we would have to go to nine” conference games.

But Richt echoed the same concerns about such a move that athletic director Greg McGarity brought up last year during the discussion over the difficulty of maintaining cross-division rivalries like Georgia-Auburn without going to nine conference games. At the time, McGarity pointed out that for schools like Alabama whose in-state rival is also an SEC team, a ninth game wouldn’t be as big a problem. But for Georgia, South Carolina and Florida, who play rivals from other major conferences, it would take away any scheduling flexibility.

As Richt put it in Athens this week: “These other schools have nine but they’re not going to have that 10th game that is a team that is BCS-quality or ACC-quality or whatever you want to say. … I voted against it because if we have nine, plus Tech and then if we want to do something like Clemson like we did this year, you’re talking about 11 out of 12 games that are pretty stout.”

Still, money talks, and the likelihood of a ninth conference game has increased dramatically. Which raises the question again of whether the limitations that would put on the schedulers might one day force UGA to consider dropping its annual football game with Georgia Tech.

Other great college football rivalries have fallen victim to the continuing conference reshuffling in recent years, but, as I’ve written before here, I’d be very much against dropping Tech from the Bulldogs’ schedule.

While the rivalry is not what it once was, most of the games in recent years have been fairly competitive, even if Georgia usually wins, and the rivalry between the two schools is one of the most storied in college athletics.

A tradition like that is one of the things that keeps college football from becoming just a development league for the NFL.

What do you think about the ramifications of a nine-game conference schedule? Should rivalry games like Georgia-Georgia Tech, South Carolina-Clemson and Florida-Florida State be sacrosanct, or has their time passed?

UPDATE: Outgoing UGA President Michael Adams said at a Thursday news conference that he doesn’t see the Bulldogs dropping the Yellow Jackets if the SEC expands to nine conference games, Flagpole reports. “There is enough history between Georgia and Georgia Tech that we would want to continue beat them nine out of every ten years,” he said. “I don’t see that going away.”

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64 comments Add your comment

Herty's field

April 18th, 2013
9:31 am

First to say “Love it when the Dawgs stomp the larvae”! Keep doing it and respect tradition.

obama SIN LADEN

April 18th, 2013
9:40 am

the time has passed. move forward with the conference enhancement in numbers and quality. drop that silly,yearly in state rival game that does nothing for uga. same as clems son.

dawggirl

April 18th, 2013
9:41 am

I used to really like this game, but I’m leaning toward maybe its time has passed. It would be a shame because of the history, and the same with SC/Clem and FL/FL State. I’m very undecided at the moment.

BillyT

April 18th, 2013
9:51 am

I love tradition as much as anyone else but if came down to dropping the yearly game between Auburn or Tech I would say drop Tech.

Skokie Dog

April 18th, 2013
9:58 am

I’d like to see U.Ga. play a schedule that includes TWELVE “out of 12 games that are pretty stout.” If that means dropping GT from the schedule, then I could live with that outcome. I’m in favor of deleting ALL of the cupcakes from the schedule, so the team’s performance on the field actually matters each week and the ticket holders get their money’s worth for showing up at games. And no, I don’t expect to see this happen.

RawDawg

April 18th, 2013
10:01 am

I’d miss the yearly bug squishing, but if I had to choose between the bugs and a 9 game schedule, I’d take the 9 game schedule. Worst scenario would be to keep the bugs and auburn yearly and only see the rest of the west every 6 years or whatever it would be. Booooring.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

April 18th, 2013
10:01 am

Its time to drop Tech;

they have a fan base that doesn’t care about sports; they cant even fill a high school stadium that is situated right in the middle of almost 6 million people

give us back the rivalry between Clemson it was much better plus they have fans that care and can fill an 80,000 seat stadium

UGA Insider

April 18th, 2013
10:03 am

Neither team is really a rival of UGA because they are non-competitive. Georgia Southern played us tougher than these two last year for Pete’s sake. Tech is our easiest team to beat year in and year out however so I would say drop Auburn. When we beat AU 42-7 year before last their fans left at halftime and they really don’t want to play us anymore I don’t think.

Anyways, AU is going to be on probation soon so who really cares??

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

April 18th, 2013
10:08 am

UGA Insider

Auburn is not a rival????

Did you just become a UGA fan 5 minutes ago?

BillyT

April 18th, 2013
10:22 am

LOL @ Flat Tire! It’s not called “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” for nothing!

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

April 18th, 2013
10:27 am

BillyT

Not only that but the record in the rivalry is 54-54-8

Is there another rivalry in college football that can boast a record like that between two teams that have played for more than 100 years??

Correct me if Im wrong but I don’t think so

BillyT

April 18th, 2013
10:28 am

Georgia and Auburn have played 116 times, the record is 54-54-8! If that’s not a rivalry, I don’t know what is! Yes we have won the last 2 and 6 of the last 7 but that just got us tied back up with them! It is also a conference game which adds so much more to the outcome!

Bright Idea

April 18th, 2013
10:38 am

Play 9 SEC games, keep Tech and do what the heck they please with the other 2. At least 1 SEC game won’t be too “stout” in most years. The only problem with 9 SEC games is that some years there may only be 3 home SEC games due to JAX.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

April 18th, 2013
10:58 am

By the way; has anyone heard from the “All in Auburn Family”

I guess the had to go back to work since they have run out of money buying players to come to dump on the plains

Maybe another 50 years of saving their hard earned money will buy them another national championship ;)

RxDawg

April 18th, 2013
11:00 am

Are you kiddin? Tech is a sheep in wolf’s clothing. On paper they are a difficult win and count towards our ranking heavily. In reality it’s a cupcake. For UGA it couldn’t be any better.

bham dawg

April 18th, 2013
11:10 am

@UGAinsider… “When we beat AU 42-7 year before last their fans left at halftime and they really don’t want to play us anymore I don’t think.”

45-7

Frosty Dawg

April 18th, 2013
11:17 am

So what this comes down to is: would we rather have a schedule that includes (1) 9 conference foes + Tech + another “good team” and a cupcake; (2) includes 8 conference foes + Tech + another “good team” and 2 cupcakes; or (3) includes 9 conference foes + another “good team” and 2 cupcakes. That’s easy. Give me (1). Why all this trouble just so we can have 2 scheduled cupcakes instead of 1? Since when did the need for 2 cupcakes start driving the schedule?

I couldn’t care less if Bama has another cupcake or 2 than does UGA. That’s their problem. I want to see good games, period.

SimpleDawg

April 18th, 2013
11:27 am

Money and greed is going to kill the Goose laying the Golden Eggs. College Football is the most passionately followed sport in the land…..and that passion comes from playing teams that are intense rivals. ( nice way of saying ‘HATED” )

Keep the gnats…..it’s the only game they sell out anyway. Look at it as a new form of welfare. Drop the Buffalo, New Mex St, Utah State’s of the world.

VaDawg

April 18th, 2013
11:28 am

I say go to nine conference games,keep Tech and have the other SEC schools that don’t now add a “stout” out of conference rival. Texas A&M can add Texas, Kentucky can add Louisville, Missouri can add Kansas, Arkansas can add an old rival from the old Southwest Conference. Vandy can add Duke, Tenessee can add West Virginia for the Hillbilly Classic, LSU can add Tulane or Louisanna Tech or one of the Big 12 Texas teams. That just leaves the Alabama and Mississippi schools. I don’t think any of these teams would have a hard time scheduling a quality out of conference team on a regular basis. This improves and retains the regional rivalries and improves strength of schedule in most instances and makes it fair for all the conference schools. And the fans are the real winners because we get to see quality competition without a lot of directional schools getting in the way and will get our moneys worth for a change.

Spike

April 18th, 2013
1:14 pm

Don’t end the game. It is almost an automatic win..

OkieDawg

April 18th, 2013
1:18 pm

Dropping Georgia Tech would be just fine.

Backhomedawg

April 18th, 2013
1:35 pm

Drop ‘em! The rivalry I recall of thirty or forty years ago is long gone for all sorts of reasons.

Now each November, it’s like the Hawaii game several years ago…a lose/lose for the dawgs.

Beating Tech is assumed; we’re supposed to. A once-a-decade loss…upset of the century.

Old Dawg

April 18th, 2013
1:40 pm

While college football has become a money trough for athletic departments, the NCAA and ESPN, it’s also about great rivalries. The season-ending games against in-state rivals keeps the passion alive throughout the off-season and when the teams are from different conferences, it’s a good barometer on the quality of conferences.

I’m still not at home with A&M and Mizzou in the SEC, and that’s not because of A&M rise in prominence. Neither school has direct ties to this area of the country and, at least in the case of Mizzou, was all about money (and who in the hell really wants or needs a conference with three teams having the same mascot). The natural tie would have been Louisville and FSU or Clemson.

Even if the SEC goes to 16 teams, which I know will water down the conference’s brand, I’m not comfortable with nine conference games. D-1 is becoming more and more like the minor league of the NFL, something I’m not happy about at all.

51 to 7

April 18th, 2013
2:10 pm

I would greatly miss the easy win of playing the nerds every year

7576DAWG

April 18th, 2013
2:11 pm

If we stay with a 12 game schedule and the SEC go’s to playing 9 SEC games then yes we should drop the Tech game. But if we go to a 13 or 14 game Schedule then no. But either way one day the Athletic Department at Tech is going to realize that the main reason Tech can not compete with Georgia is because some of the Recruit’s who would actually like to go to Tech will never be interested until OLD SCHOOL Johnson is gone. I like Johnson’s Integrity but he has got to learn how to adjust and stay current.

UGA Insider

April 18th, 2013
2:29 pm

It’s time to stop living in the past UGA fans…. Who cares if we have played them 110 times! LIVE for today!

GTBob

April 18th, 2013
2:37 pm

The Tech/UGA game is a “rivalry” that is way passed it’s prime. I have been in favor of dropping the series for a while and it’s good to see so many UGA fans in favor of it as well. I think it would be best for both schools if it were to end.

GTBob

April 18th, 2013
2:40 pm

because some of the Recruit’s who would actually like to go to Tech will never be interested until OLD SCHOOL Johnson is gone.

We had lost 7 games in a row and 14 of 17 games before CPJ got to Tech. Somehow I don’t think he is the problem. The two schools are just to culturally different for a real rivalry to exist going forward.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

April 18th, 2013
2:46 pm

UGA Insider

You might need to stop playing Xbox

Tech is irrelevant

Tech has appeared in only 1 BCS bowl game in 50 years and that is only because they were tied in because not only were they embarrassed but they never should have went

This love affair you have with Tech makes me think you are nothing more than a Tech fan hoping that Tech doesn’t lose the only relevant football game they play every year

Auburn has done way more than Tech has done and is a more watched game than Tech plus they have a fan base that Tech could only dream of having

Why does UGA want to play a team that cant fill its own stadium until UGA comes to town and fills it for them

GTBob

April 18th, 2013
2:57 pm

Why does UGA want to play a team that cant fill its own stadium until UGA comes to town and fills it for them

Actually, in 2011 the UGA game at GT didn’t even sell out. The Clemson game did though.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

April 18th, 2013
3:05 pm

Needless to say we all know there were more UGA and Clemson fans at those game than there were Tech fans ;)

GTBob

April 18th, 2013
3:13 pm

Needless to say we all know there were more UGA and Clemson fans at those game than there were Tech fans

Not the Clemson game. There were far more Tech fans than Clemson fans. It was one of our best turnouts in years. The UGA game is true though. The game has lost interest with most Tech fans. Even the ones who were there didn’t really seem to care to be there. It was a pretty depressing atmosphere and one of the reasons I don’t really have any interest in going to UGA games anymore.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

April 18th, 2013
3:17 pm

Bob

If Tech were to win this year against UGA the trash talking from Tech fans would start and you guys would be foaming at the mouth to play us every year again

GTBob

April 18th, 2013
3:26 pm

Flat Tire, I think we are past the point of that being true. One random win every 10 years or so isn’t going to have much affect anymore. To actually build interest in this series we would have to win 3 or 4 in a row which isn’t ever going to happen, or we would have to trade wins and losses for several years which also isn’t going to happen. Personally, I would say any Tech fan who talks trash after winning one of the last 5 and two of the last 12 is a moron.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

April 18th, 2013
3:37 pm

Now now Bob

you know there are as many moron Tech fans as there are UGA fans

you know good and well the Tech fans will be on here talking trash like they were several years ago and telling us how coach turkey neck has turned the corner and will now own UGA

7576DAWG

April 18th, 2013
3:38 pm

So why couldn’t Donnan beat Tech?

LawDawg

April 18th, 2013
3:52 pm

I like how the guy calls himself “UGA Insider” even though he knows nothing, is likely a teenager or a college kid, and definitely has no “insider” connection.

GTBob

April 18th, 2013
3:53 pm

So why couldn’t Donnan beat Tech?

Because he was an awful coach. Even being as awful as he was he still won 2 of 5. It took him three years before he sunk UGA’s program low enough that even Tech could beat them. It was similar to the Notre Dame/Navy series. Notre Dame won 42 times in a row until Charlie Weis started killing the program.

GTBob

April 18th, 2013
4:05 pm

you know good and well the Tech fans will be on here talking trash like they were several years ago

Of course there would be, but they really would be idiots. GT would have to win much more than one game to get any real bragging rights.

Thomas

April 18th, 2013
4:28 pm

Auburn === Rivalry! Its time to bump Tech off the schedule. This game sucks. Their offense is not fun to watch and its a poor choice right before the SEC championship game. Give it the boot. Sorry, nerds.

GTBob

April 18th, 2013
4:30 pm

Give it the boot. Sorry, nerds.

Sorry for what? A lot of GT fans have been asking for this series to end for years. Lets work together and get it done.

dawgfan

April 18th, 2013
4:31 pm

i would be glad to have a 9-game conference schedule. most years it wont be that bad, some it will. all will be less painful than watching UGA play UAB, N. Texas, App. State, GA. State, or southern. some of these games are over by the middle of the 1st quarter and it does not improve the team at all, another practice would do more good.

I am still waiting on admission standards to increase and a minor league football league implemented so we can get actual college athletes on the field instead of college-aged athletes.

Bulldawg35

April 18th, 2013
5:41 pm

Why would we take them off the schedule…it’s a for sure win for us every year!!

Bulldawg35

April 18th, 2013
8:02 pm

I hate admit it…but GTbob has a lot of good points…..he is actually the best poster of the tech fans on here

Bulldawg35

April 18th, 2013
8:11 pm

Why can’t the AJC get t right….UGA leads the chickens in the series…46-17…..not 45-17!!! AJC Get IT RIGHT DAMN IT!!!!

bahits.com

April 18th, 2013
9:41 pm

Until the stop the dangerous chop blocking, I am fine with dropping them. I can’t believe I just wrote that, but seriously, stop the dangerous low blocks.

UGAly

April 18th, 2013
9:45 pm

I would like to drop the trade school. I equate it to fighting a girl. If you win, it’s not an accomplishment. Every 9 years when you lose, it’s extra humiliating because you got beat by a girl.

RED DOG 77

April 18th, 2013
10:26 pm

Eliminating traditions in college football will ultimately spell the death of the game we love so dearly. The game of college footbal is a game of cycles that indeed seems to breath as if it has a will of its own. Those who would want to “fidle” with our great game for the almighty dollar will be the ones who “kills the golden goose”………….Leave college football alone, level the playing field with constants in grades and drug screening………….then sit back and enjoy, or watch it go down the tubes as it seemes to be heading………..Best to all RED

7576DAWG

April 18th, 2013
11:57 pm

There was plenty of money to fund College Football and the Athletic Department had some left over. Then the anti Discrimination Laws started to be followed. Unless you only wanted to have a few Male Sports in College something had to be done. Since the only Sports that make any money is Football they expanded all the stadiums and the Conference made a deal with Cable and other Media Company’s. Now the large Colleges have 20 something or 30 something Sports in Men and the same for Women Athletics which would have never happened if the Stadium had not doubled or tripled or the big Media deals had not come along.
I don’t think this will be the death of College Football as long as it remains for Amateurs. That means nobody get’s paid. The Athletes get a full Scholarship so they can get an education and they earn that Scholarship by playing a Sport. If that starts to changes then the Colleges need to make the NFL establish their own rookie league.Then the kids who are going to College just to play Sports and to grow physically enough to handle Professional demands, will never make it to College in the first place.
I think things are better because of the changes and it was always a business for the Colleges. The only difference now is a School like Georgia has over 500 kids getting a free or partial Scholarship and it is a much bigger business.

Tatman

April 19th, 2013
12:56 am

Sorry, but I personally like rivalries in sports weather it be in college football or the MLB. Playing 9 conference games and Tech still leaves 2 open slots. Fill those how you will.