Georgia-Florida in the Dome? Great idea. Won’t happen.

The Atlanta Sports Council wants to move the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party indoors. Once every four years, the Georgia Dome would play host to the Georgia-Florida game. It’s a great idea. It’ll never happen.

It’ll never happen for a reason that might sound downright weird to those on the periphery: Georgia fans love going to Jacksonville. Even when the Bulldogs are losing – and they’ve lost to Florida 16 of the past 19 seasons – it’s a bigger event for Georgia folks than for Florida people. Not a bigger game, but a bigger event.

Gator supporters can drive into town on that given Saturday and don’t even require a hotel with its jacked-up rates and two-night minimum. Georgia fans will pay whatever it costs because it’s simply part of being a Georgia fan. Said Jeff Dantzler, who hosts a talk show in Athens: “It’s like a bowl game in the middle of the year.”

When word of the Sports Council’s interest in bidding for the game began to circulate last weekend (via a report in the Atlanta Business Chronicle), there was little discussion on Dantzler’s show. Had there been, he said, “My view would be two huge thumbs-down. That game is such a big thing for Georgia people – going to St. Simons and all. If you wanted to talk about playing it home-and-home, I’d be all for it, but to move it to another neutral site is completely ludicrous.”

Within hours of the Chronicle’s report, Georgia athletics director Damon Evans sought to calm his constituency by saying there were no negotiations ongoing. Gary Stokan, the Council’s president, keeps broaching the notion, but the unfortunate truth is that nothing is apt to change.

“We respect the tradition of the game,” Stokan said. “We’re just trying to do our job … We think this would add to the mystique and the rivalry.”

Given the way the rivalry has turned against their team, you might guess Georgia fans would be ripe for any break in the routine. You’d be wrong. The trek to Jacksonville has become such a part of the UGA experience that the school schedules no classes the Friday before the given Saturday. A day trip to Fulton County wouldn’t quite match the experience of a three- or four-day fall break (with golf at St. Simons, long a Bulldog stronghold, included).

“There are politics and idiosyncrasies that I’m aware of,” Stokan said. “But we’re not asking to move it here every year. Seventy-five percent of the games could say in Jacksonville. We’re asking to play one game in Georgia every four years.”Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Me, I’d love it. I hate everything about the Jacksonville experience – the aforementioned hotel rates, the alarming alcoholic intake, the meanness between fans. But I’m a neutral. (Go ahead and laugh, you Gators.) I’ve had my issues with the Sports Council, but this time I’m on Stokan’s side. Which means neither of us has a prayer.

Sixteen times since 1989, the hated Gators have marred a Georgia season. That said, Bulldog backers will give up their autumnal sojourn only when somebody pries a 7-iron from their cold dead fingers. As much as those folks want their team to win, they want their R & R even more.

316 comments Add your comment

RHM

March 26th, 2009
9:04 am

As a Bulldog, I would hate to see the game go to Alanta. As a golfer and St. Simons resident, I can appreciate less traffic and open tee times.

RxDawg

March 26th, 2009
9:08 am

This is for the most part very true. It’s such a fantastic atmosphere down there. If you have never been, then you really shouldn’t say “It needs to be 1hr from us once in a while, it needs to be at home and home, WAHHHHHHMBULANCE!!!”

Mark Bradley

March 26th, 2009
9:09 am

Thanks, RHM. And you folks out there: See what I mean?

RxDawg

March 26th, 2009
9:09 am

This is a fact: Jacksonville is not why we have lost to UF so much in the past 20 years.

richtfan

March 26th, 2009
9:13 am

jeff dantzler does not speak for the Dawgnation. He is a Dooley-ite through and through and does not understand the meaning of what Coach Richt has EARNED. He has EARNED the right to have this game moved to a home and home or a neutral and neutral site type of setup. This thing, ultimately, is all about the money. How much money Jacksonville is willing to cough up versus how much Atlanta would be able to cough up. Coach Richt wants the game moved due to the travel issue, which IS a big deal to most UGA fans. Jeff Dantzler is not UGA and should have absolutely no say in the decision. Jeff has earned exactly zero when it comes to UGA. He’s just a big fan like most everyone else.

drewdawg

March 26th, 2009
9:13 am

I love going to Jacksonville just as much as any Georgia fan. But I would like to see the result of the game in the Georgia Dome one year. Maybe just once. But again, I love going to Jacksonville.

foxdog

March 26th, 2009
9:14 am

Any UGA fans that don’t want to go to Jacksonville, just give up your tickets and stay home. I don’t think the tickets will go unsold.

Tripper

March 26th, 2009
9:14 am

Neutral. HA! Why, then, do you use the same photo for Gator fans so regularly? Jean Shorts 49, Red “frat dog” Pants 10.

Also, imagine the tailgating underneath an overpass amidst the homeless menace… You don’t see that in Jax.

RHM

March 26th, 2009
9:14 am

Look me up Mark. Golf at Frederica?

Mark Bradley

March 26th, 2009
9:16 am

Thanks for the offer, RHM, but I don’t play golf. Another of my many failings.

chris

March 26th, 2009
9:16 am

Oklahoma does not CRY about going into Texas every year. Grow a pair dogs and get a coach who can win big games.

USMC DAWG

March 26th, 2009
9:19 am

It’s not gonna happen. The J’ville boosters, and City Council are too greedy, and helping stuff Adams and his cronies wallet.

godawg

March 26th, 2009
9:20 am

Nobody wanted to move it when UGA was dominating the series, moving it now sends the wrong message. I do agree that from an economic standpoint it’s not fair that the State of Florida reaps the benefits every year. The ideal solution IMO is to build a suitable multi-purpose venue in Savannah then alternate. Atlanta is just NOT a good site and should not even be considered.

gatorhead1013

March 26th, 2009
9:22 am

uh…how would “hotel rates, alcohol intake and meanness between fans” be any different in ATL? That certainly isn’t a Jacksonville problem.

Dogfan1

March 26th, 2009
9:22 am

Mark, if you are a neutral fan, then what difference does it make to you? And don’t give me the crap about having to cover the game and what an “inconvenience” it is for the Press. That’s your job…they don’t schedule games for your convenience or pleasure. This is a little thing called tradition; ever heard of the Texas-Oklahoma game at the TEXAS State Fair? “RxDawg is correct when saying…playing in Jacksonville is not why we have lost to UF so much in the past 20 years.” The only way the game should be moved is by going to a home and home series.

Steven

March 26th, 2009
9:22 am

i believe choosing an alternate “neutral” site would be a fresh change. i was always a staunch supporter of keeping the game in jacksonville, until i actually had the chance of going. i have been the last three seasons: the first, i noticed the gator:dawg fan count after the game at the landing about 7:1 (ga lost); the next year the ratio was about 3:1 (ga won). last year i did not even try to go there. jacksonville is not a neutral site when there is always at least 2-4 times as many florida fans as ga fans (for obvious geographical reasons) and should not be called one. i think it should alternate every year between jacksonville and atlanta, but that is just me being a wishful dreamer.

Mark Bradley

March 26th, 2009
9:23 am

About the photo above: I agree that the jokes about jean shorts have been way overdone. That said, I can’t look at the picture and not laugh. And it’s dreary outside and I need all the laughs I can get.

Right On Time

March 26th, 2009
9:24 am

I have been going to Jax for the last 16 years and I would be all for a date in the Dome every 4 years. The trip to Jax can be fun win or lose. However, as a Georgian, I would like to see some of that revenue find it’s way to my home state. Let’s see the folks south of here enjoy jacke-up hotel rates and the local authorities targeting them.

Also, I am sick of hearing about the fans and boosters in south Georgia. The boosters there are not any bigger than the big boosters that live 4 hours away from other large schools. Actually, it might be good to “weed out” some of the older fan base. Sanford stadium often has no intimidation factor and is far too quiet. The younger fan base that does not feel they are entitled to be there because of longevity might make a difference. Money will not be an issue either as @8,000 season ticket order forms of boosters that have paid $7,000 plus are returned every year.

I say all of this as a 40 year old alum who has had season tickets for 17 years. I have been to every stadium in the SEC, traveled to bowl games and I was in Phoenix last year. Travel is not the main issue here, neither is the current run florida is on. This state should reap some of the benefits of this game. It is only every 4 years.

I vote to MOVE IT!!!!

Bird Dog Tavern

March 26th, 2009
9:24 am

Yeah, let’s move it to ATL. Who doesn’t love tailgating in a sea of concrete, hanging out with the homeless, dealing with MARTA, and then watching a football game indoors? I can’t think of a better game day experience.

ValdostaMike

March 26th, 2009
9:25 am

Please, let us keep this tradition. I am actually not too worried. This is just posturing for a better deal. We have got a new basketball coach to pay for.

Mark Bradley

March 26th, 2009
9:25 am

FYI, I’ve been to Texas-OU in Dallas. Walking down the street the night before the game with the two sets of fans yelling obscenities at one another remains one of the stranger experiences of a fairly odd life. Fellini-esque, I’d say, if Fellini had been a fan of (American) football.

Gayturd Watcher

March 26th, 2009
9:25 am

Gordon

March 26th, 2009
9:33 am

Most Georgia fans are smart enough to know they have something special with this game and would be crazy to change it in any way. As RxDawg said, the location of the game is not why UGA has struggled in it lately. I’m surprised at those like Dantzler who would even consider changing it to a home and home series. As a Tech fan, I would love to have something similar like playing the Miami game in Orlando every year, but that could never happen because not enough people would go.

Bird Dog Tavern

March 26th, 2009
9:39 am

It’s more of a convenience factor than anything. If Atlanta was in South Georgia, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I would love for it to be closer too. I live in TN, and it’s a hike, but the game wouldn’t be the same in ATL. Think about the college kids, too. Taking a charter bus from SSI was the best part of my 4 year UGA experience, and I think that would be unfortunate to take that away from the college kids now, even if it was only once every four years. I can’t imagine being a student and having to take a trip to ATL on my fall break. Gross.

misterwax

March 26th, 2009
9:39 am

Although I am not a gator fan or an UGA fan, I would like to see tha game here in Atlanta sometimes… rotate such as Atlanta, gainesville, JAX, Athens and keep it going that way….every 4 years it comes back on the circuit…the rason I say this is because the season opening games of SEC – ACC in the dome are very exciting and add a lot to college football flavor in the deep South… I think JAX could do the same thing in the gator bowl in early Sept. and it would also be very popular… like Miami vs. UT etc..in JAX… would be a great game.

football fan

March 26th, 2009
9:42 am

More football in the Dome? No way!!! I hate to see the Falcons in the Dome. I hate to see college games in the Dome. I hate to see high school games in the Dome. If this game is changed, it needs to be home and home only. If it can not be home and home….just leave it the way it is. I miss the old Fulton County Stadium and the Falcons playing in the elements. Why a dome in the south anyway?

CrimsonRedScarlett

March 26th, 2009
9:43 am

The next expansion of Sanford stadium could change the economics of going to Jacksonville. Many of the smaller donors do not get tickets for the UF game, and would like to see it every other year.

Mark Bradley

March 26th, 2009
9:46 am

I’ve never understood those who don’t like the Dome. I’ve always thought it was a splendid facility. (I thought Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium was somewhat less.)

brewdawg

March 26th, 2009
9:48 am

I first started making the trek to Jacksonville in 2005, so though I’m fairly new to it, I have some observations. The first thing is that what surprised me most was the civility between the two fans. Honestly, for the most part, every time I’ve gone we’ve met some great Florida people. And no matter what, after the game, it’s just some good-natured ribbing and then party as one. I also love the experience at the Landing. What is better than watching a storied football tradition with friend and foe alike as the sun sets on the river? I don’t want the game to move, not to a home and home, and certainly not to the Georgia Dome.

Pago Flyer

March 26th, 2009
9:49 am

The ATL DOME, a great place to tailgate! Hardly……

Ryan

March 26th, 2009
9:52 am

Clearly none of you have ever been to the swamp. Calling Jax a UF home game is absoloutely silly, and the only people that make that claim are people who dont go to Jax. Half the stadium is blue and the other half is red. So what’s your beef? The scenery in Jax is what CFB is all about.

Mark Bradley

March 26th, 2009
9:52 am

I understand the point, BrewDawg. But what amazes me is that Georgia is 3-14 in that stadium since 1989. You’d think a team that was 3-14 playing anywhere — even on Michael Adams’ front lawn, or Coach Dooley’s garden — would be anxious to change venues. But Bulldog fans clearly are not.

ODawg2002

March 26th, 2009
10:07 am

Sure the GA Dome is closer to Athens, but do we really want to try to match up with the UF speed merchants on artificial turf? No thanks. Keep it in JAX.

dgroy

March 26th, 2009
10:08 am

First, let me begin by saying….”I am not a Bulldog or Gator fan, although I do favor the latter just a tad”. That being said, the tradition is to play the game in JAX. Why are we always so quick to pitch tradition out the window for other alternatives which mean absolutely nothing. A case in point, in the 1940’s, 50’s and later, we in Atlanta had a lot of wonderful high schools with great sports traditions…..what did we allow to happen? Less than a handful are left that you would even recognize the name…..the same with street names…..tradition is being killed all in the name of political correctness. All of you who care, “do not let this happen to one of the great Football Happenings of every year”…..resist change with all your being or it, like a lot of other things will be lost forever.

OZZFEST

March 26th, 2009
10:10 am

Anyone who thinks the game “should be moved” has never actually been to the Gator Bowl complex. There is no other event in college football that comes close to the incredible scene before the game. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. Go Dogs.

ATL Dawg

March 26th, 2009
10:10 am

You can count me as one of the fans that do not like going to Jax. I vowed after the 2002 season I would NEVER go back to that hell hole again – and I have NOT and will NOT go back there EVER again! The rest of my fellow Dawgies can go all they want, but for me – NEVER again!

Gators are #1 - ANYWHERE!

March 26th, 2009
10:13 am

As an Florida fan living in Atlanta I would love to see the Gators whip the Bulldogs in the Georgia dome. I relish the thought of all the anxiety, pain and suffering kept nice and fresh here, permeating the entire city. Ha ha ha.

Gooooooooo GATORS!

matt

March 26th, 2009
10:14 am

Mr. Bradley- the reason a lot of dawg fans don’t want to move it is because they go for the party, not the game. Most people wouldn’t go to Knoxville for the weekend without a ticket for the game. Most fans would however go to the Ga/Fla. game without a ticket. It’s sad.

If you want to talk about fairness then you have to either move it to a home/home or a neutral/neutral every year (Ga. Dome/Jacksonville) Every other year you would get to travel for the experience. To say that playing every year in Jacksonville hasn’t had an effect is a little silly. 3-14 since 1989?? Really? UGA doesn’t have a record like that against any other team, in any other situation.

football fan

March 26th, 2009
10:15 am

Hey MB…..I did not say that the Dome was not a great facility….Just that I hate to see football played in a Dome. Needs to be played out doors…The high school championships are a total waste in the dome.

mike addington

March 26th, 2009
10:17 am

I do believe that CMR’s away-game record is pretty good, so don’t blame the losses on that, you whiners. We just need to get some more Junkyard Dawgs and kick some gator butt.

DirtyDawg

March 26th, 2009
10:18 am

It ain’t the stadium, it’s the teams. We won there for years and we’ll win there again…and if we don’t then CMR will never really win us over completely. Like the guy once said, the job of whippin’ Florida in Jacksonville was on the agenda when Coach Richt ‘hired on’, and it’s still on the agenda. He’s done it more than his two predecessors already and I’m confident that he’ll do it plenty again.

Bradley and Dantzler are right, this is more a ‘fun time’ for the Bulldog Nation than it is the Gators, even with the losses. Sure I hated like hell that the Sunday after was an absolute downer when we lost, and, frankly even when we won my Florida friends made sure that it wasn’t all that enjoyable either – trust me, they’re far worse losers than we ever thought about being…then again, maybe I’d gotten too used to it. The point is the trip…the whole experience was what made it. The golf, the dinners in the same restaurants the nights before, the trip to the game on the charter buses, even the leaking toilets in the old Gator Bowl, it was all part of the fun. In fact, the two years that the game was played home and home, the group we always went with – Dogs and Gators – headed down anyway and watched the Athens game on the TV…didn’t miss a beat (including getting our asses kicked).

Leave the location alone, just kick some Gator booty for a change and all will be right with the world, and ‘The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party’ (and Michael Adams can kiss my Bulldog butt if he doesn’t care for the title. It was around long before he came along and it’ll be around long after he’s gone back to Tennessee, or wherever he calls home.

Bird Dog Tavern

March 26th, 2009
10:19 am

Location has nothing to do with outcome. Period. We dominated Florida for a spell in JAX (1971 – 1983) and nobody wanted to move it then. Now we’re losing, so it must not be neutral anymore. How convenient.

Mark Bradley

March 26th, 2009
10:20 am

Understood, Football Fan. And maybe it’s just me, being a paid observer and all, but I’m a major fan of indoor events. Why be cold (or hot, or wet) when it’s 72 degrees underneath the Dome?

TMoorecansuckit

March 26th, 2009
10:21 am

If you want to go get drunk in Jacksonville, it is there the other 364 days each year. You don’t need a game for your excuse. Move it to the Dome.

Dean

March 26th, 2009
10:22 am

I think the game should stay in Jax if only to offer the economic boom to South Georgia and to make one game easier for south Georgia fans to get to. However, like Mark, I’m not impressed with the Jax experience. The rooms stink, the traffic is terrible, the police are zero help and the fans (particularly UF fans) are downright reprehensible when drunk. The dirve back sucks, much more when we lose but it still stinks even when we win.

Mark Bradley

March 26th, 2009
10:23 am

I just checked the above poll — if you haven’t voted, please do — and was a bit surprised, especially from the tenor of these comments. Fifty-five percent of the 210 who have responded favor moving the game to the Dome once ever four years. Perhaps that would constitute a silent majority.

Bird Dog Tavern

March 26th, 2009
10:24 am

Dean,

Do you really think Gator fans will be less reprehensible in Atlanta? Doubt it.

R. Gunn

March 26th, 2009
10:25 am

I’ve been saying for years that it should be JAX/ATL alternating thing. Why should Florida get all the $$. Jacksonvile is NOT a “nuetral” location however the tix are divided.
Maybe the Atlanta game wouldn’t be as big for tourism but maybe it would. I gone to JAX almost every year since 1976. I’ve attacked it from every conceivealble angle – JAX, Amelia Island, St. Simons, Ponte Vedra. I’m frankly tired of it and would welcome a change. Not saying ditch the Jacksonvile site, just mix it up a little. Seriously.

Right On Time

March 26th, 2009
10:25 am

Ryan:
Granted the swamp is a true home advantage.
However, Spurrier disagrees with you as far as the advantage in Jax and he has been there a few times.

OZZ:
You and others keep insisting those that want a rotation have never been to the game. You are wrong. It is just a different opinion.

Tailgating took a hit for me when the little church that used to cook ribs and greens closed. That was some good eats.

DOGZILLA

March 26th, 2009
10:25 am

I haven’t missed a game in Jax since 1989, and I am sick of going. It’s always an away game, as six hours there and back can be nothing else. The people who like going there every year are either wealthy (St. Simon’s) or college kids (The Landing). The other 80% of Dog fans would prefer a home-and-home or Atlanta every other year. We shell out a lot of bucks to Jacksonville. It gets old if you’re not drunk, win or lose.