Tech and Georgia in the Dome? A capital idea, I say

It might not happen. If you were betting, you’d probably bet against it happening. But I hope it does. I hope Georgia and Georgia Tech play one another in the Georgia Dome.

Try it once. Try it in 2011 at the beginning of the season, as opposed to the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Try it and see how it flies. If both sides agree it’s a dud, then everyone can walk away and go back to the November status quo. But I’m guessing it won’t be a dud.

I’m guessing the game will be good for both schools, good for the Dome, good for Atlanta, good for the state. I’m guessing one turn under the off-white roof will serve to juice a series that’s just getting juicy again. (As we know, Tech-Georgia as a concept only works when there’s the real possibility of Tech winning. Tech won last season and should win again this time. Whoa, Nellie.)

Any change regarding the game will be met with resistance on both sides. Tech fans won’t want to give up a home game. Georgia fans won’t want to play such a heated game so early. (Oklahoma State is still fresh in Bulldog minds.) Each constituency will be reluctant to switch a game that has been a November staple since Bobby Dodd was a stripling. But you know what? Sometimes change is good.

The lure of the Dome in August/September is that a mere game will become an Event. The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic has seen only two installments, and both have been rousing successes. But the teams involved — Alabama twice, Clemson and Virginia Tech one each — aren’t Georgia-based. Imagine if two Georgia teams played in the Georgia Dome in prime time on the first Saturday of a football season. That would be way bigger than any split national telecast on the crowded Thanksgiving calendar.

To this non-Alabamian, it has always seemed a shame that the Alabama-Auburn game moved from Birmingham to the two campuses. I understand why Auburn fought for such a change — the Tigers were tired of playing in a city that has long been a Tide stronghold — but the colossal rivalry seemed to lose something when it exited ramshackle Legion Field. The game stopped being a showcase and became just another home-and-home.

Remember the painted wording across the facade of the upper deck at Legion Field? “Football capital of the South.” Birmingham can no longer make that claim. Having Tech and Georgia play in the Dome would cement Atlanta’s case as the new capital of Southern collegiate football. We already have the SEC championship game and the Chick-fil-A Bowl. A Tech-Georgia Kickoff Classic every third season would clinch any argument.

Would you like to see a Tech-Georgia game in the Dome?

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Tech athletics director Dan Radakovich released a statement to fans Wednesday. Its intent was to calm fears but also to make a case for nuanced consideration. Radakovich articulated his point nicely: “This scenario would simply provide a one-year interruption in our regular home-and-home pattern. In other words, the 2010 game would be played in Athens as scheduled, the 2011 game would be played at the Georgia Dome, then, the 2012 game would remain a home game at Bobby Dodd Stadium to resume the normal home and home rotation.”

Then this: “We are far from having any type of an agreement on this model, but for us it is an intriguing discussion from a long-term schedule standpoint.”

And it is. It’s so good an idea it merits more than discussion. It merits trying, if only once. But I suspect that if the schools do try it, they’ll like it so much they do it every third year.

251 comments Add your comment

Dawg Hatin' Jacket

October 7th, 2009
8:20 pm

Jim Grogan

October 7th, 2009
8:22 pm

Huge national exposure. I like it!

lonelystoner

October 7th, 2009
8:23 pm

I think it would be an advantage for both teams if only to switch to/from odd to/from even years in the home/home games.

Gordon

October 7th, 2009
8:25 pm

Tech doesn’t play anyone well in the dome, and doesn’t play UGA well in Atlanta. If it wasn’t for the bad Jasper Sanks call, UGA would be going for 10 in a row in Bobby Dodd. But we have won 3 of the last 6 (and 3 of the last 3 with a coach not named Chan Gailey) in Athens. Let’s play in Athens every year.

Sal

October 7th, 2009
8:25 pm

Wow, looks like no one gives a damn.

BIG SURPRISE!!

rock hard cocks fan

October 7th, 2009
8:26 pm

They have college football in the State of Georgia??

Dawg Hatin' Jacket

October 7th, 2009
8:27 pm

No no no. Not ever. The game must remain at the end of the season. Otherwise it will start to lose importance.

First game of the season, teams haven’t even figured out their character yet. First game of the season, not as much is riding on that game. First game of the year, the season isn’t make-or-break at that point. Even when one team is down, beating the hated rival at the end can help a team salvage something. Maybe knock the other one down a peg. When both have had a good year, game is even more important because bowl bids are on the line. All that goes away playing in September.

I don’t care about how much money it will put in Atlanta’s coffers. That isn’t why the game is played. I’d rather see UGA and GT play other ACC/SEC opponents in alternating years. That would be better for the Kickoff Classic long-term. It would bring in the precious dollars and it would preserve the UGA/GT tradition. If college football is about anything, it is about tradition.

Go Jackets.

roçk hard coçks fan

October 7th, 2009
8:28 pm

They have college football in the Great State of Georgia??

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 7th, 2009
8:30 pm

This doesn’t really make sense for Tech. Why would they give up home field advantage? I would be all for it, but only when the game is supposed to be at Tech. We already have one neutral site game.

Also, one of my favorite sporting events used to be UGA-Tech at the Omni every December. That’s a neutral site tradition the new UGA hoops coach should resurrect. Even though the game was in Atlanta, it always felt like the fanbases were about even.

midnite

October 7th, 2009
8:30 pm

I can agree with you on this idea. It would be great for all involved like you said. They should do it because it would be a big time event.

StraightJacket

October 7th, 2009
8:32 pm

Yeah. While we’re changing college football traditions, I think Auburn should just move their 2011 game with Alabama to Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles stadium for a Labor Day weekend game.

Makes more sense than this dumb idea.

Look, if they want to do this for one year and give GT the home game in 2012 and then alternate moving forward, then OK.

BUT NOT to kickoff the season! Tradition should count for SOMETHING!

-SJ

Buckhead Bulldog

October 7th, 2009
8:32 pm

Mark-

What is wrong with you? I used to like to read your stuff but this kind of dribble has got to stop.

Come on man…you can do much better.

Gordon

October 7th, 2009
8:33 pm

How do I get my comments to appear in gray like Theresa. I thought you had to be a famous sportswriter to get that.

xl dawg

October 7th, 2009
8:39 pm

No, no, no, Dawgs already consider game at Tech a home game any way. The Dome is fun but not the same as the World’s Largest Cocktail Party!

Mark Bradley

October 7th, 2009
8:41 pm

I believe Ms. Theresa’s comments appear in gray because she’s a member of the AJC.com digital crew. She writes “Momania,” which I’d advise you to check out.

oldschooldog

October 7th, 2009
8:42 pm

Wherever it’s played, needs to be done as the season opener. Neither team needs to deal with an in-state rivalry game the week before a conference championship. Permanent Thanksgiving date might work.

Joe Schmoe

October 7th, 2009
8:43 pm

The only way I wanna see GT vs. UGA in the dome in 2011 is to have a GT home game in 2012, or another rematch in the dome in 2012. No way we do it any other way shape or form.

meee

October 7th, 2009
8:45 pm

Absolutly not. This idea is very stupid. Its a shame that money tempts people to change tradition

Gordon

October 7th, 2009
8:47 pm

Thanksgiving is not a good idea. My Thanksgiving in ‘95 was ruined by a UGA field goal with 30 seconds left. I was in a bad mood the rest of the day and my wife to this day will not go to a UGA game with me.

go tech

October 7th, 2009
8:48 pm

I think it may work. Plus it shifts the risk of a late season loss to early season for each team, thus staying within the BCS’s much stronger preference for early season losses as opposed to late season losses.

kl

October 7th, 2009
8:48 pm

Joe Schmoe

October 7th, 2009
8:49 pm

Oh, and the game can not be played at the begining of the season. Just doesnt seem right. Cant beat BDS in the fall.

Ed-Covington

October 7th, 2009
8:49 pm

Good point, Gordon!

The Kick-Off Classic should begin the season each year, as it now does, but include either uga or TECH against another opponent. Leave the rivalry game for the end of the season. Say, ugs v usceast or TECH v Miami. Problem would be us TECH fans filling up the dome. Would have to depend upon the visitors’ fan base to sell out.

Mark Bradley

October 7th, 2009
8:50 pm

The worst-looking field goal ever, as I remember it.

Johnny DangerDawg

October 7th, 2009
8:50 pm

Gordon,
You make a good point. I would add that Richt’s Dawgs have consistently won more games on opponenets’ fields than in Sanford Stadium, regardless of the opponent. So basically, pretty much every team (not just Tech) should prefer to play the Dawgs in Athens.

Gordon

October 7th, 2009
8:51 pm

Regarding Theresa’s comments, I liked the Omni game as well. But what I would like even better is what they did before that – 2 games with one on each campus every year. The first game could be played on the Friday night before the football game in that city. The other would be played just before conference play.

oldschooldog

October 7th, 2009
8:51 pm

Gordon, a wobbly, sideways, 12 foot off the ground field goal at that. Thanksgiving ‘71, ‘75 and ‘93 weren’t good for you, either. Nor the Friday game in ‘94.

Mark Bradley

October 7th, 2009
8:52 pm

I remember the Georgia bench jumping up and down after the kick — was it Kanon Parkman? — and I thought, “Why are those people cheering? They just lost the game.”

StraightJacket

October 7th, 2009
8:52 pm

The idea is bad because we’re talking about September. Let the ASC and CFA do their thing, ….

…..But NOT with the GT / Ugag game. KEEP IT on Thanksgiving weekend! If they want to interrupt the series in 2011 for a Dome Game on THANKSGIVING and then pick it up in 2012 at Bobby Dodd, then fine.

My solution is STILL the double-header approach:

Ugag vs. Iowa State / Washington State or whoever at 1:00 p.m. and then GT vs. Auburn / Michigan / ND or whoever with 8:00 kickoff.

Before you say “no way”, I remind you that Birmingham did this with crowds of 73,000 in the early 70’s with double-header Bama / Auburn games at Legion Field. Also, THIS (Atlanta) is the city that put on the Olympic Games (i.e. multiple sessions / same venue / same day logisitics). I think we could do this for the CFA Kickoff Day.

-SJ

Bob

October 7th, 2009
8:53 pm

Mark,

This is crazy. Radakovich wants the 2012 game as a home game. That would mean Georgia would have only 5 games in Athens that year, and the last 4 would be away from home…..UF, AU, UK and GT. If Damon Evans agreed to this he would be run out of Athens on a rail. That would be insane.

Mr. Neutron

October 7th, 2009
8:53 pm

No, no, no. No. If Tech wants to move their 2011 home game a mile down the street, that’s fine. (More tickets for the visitors!) But to award Tech what amounts to an extra home game under the guise of an “interruption in our regular home-and-home pattern” is nuts. Damon Evans is not that stupid, people.

JDW

October 7th, 2009
8:54 pm

Don’t like it don’t want it. Ga vs Tech belongs at Thanksgiving. It is part of the very fabric of the holiday for many fans on both sides. Sometimes change is good…sometimes not. This change is not.

Jackets21

October 7th, 2009
8:55 pm

Of course a Kentucky grad would think this is a good idea.How much does that UK-Louisville game mean in week one, Mark? Oh, thats right. It means nothing. Tech-UGA has a little thing called tradition. We should stick to it.
The only way Tech should even entertain the idea is to get 2012 at Bobby Dodd. Without that, this shouldn’t even be considered.
Can you imagine all the inbred trailer trash in Atlanta? The cities IQ would go down 20 points with the addtion of 30K MORE barking douches than usual.

Gordon

October 7th, 2009
8:55 pm

The worst was ‘97, when we intercepted, it was nullified by a penalty, and they scored on the next play. That made it 7 in a row. That was cruel.

Can we change the subject?

11Dawg

October 7th, 2009
8:55 pm

And who do we play on Thanksgiving? Directional Tech? I’m sorry, but this is just a terrible idea all over. Four teams will have to change their schedules around and find new people to play, which would be difficult at this point. I’m not opposed to playing in the dome, but not on Labor Day weekend.

Johnny DangerDawg

October 7th, 2009
8:56 pm

Mark Bradley,
Is Theresa “Momania” a UGA grad?

JasonGT

October 7th, 2009
8:56 pm

Can anyone tell me what’s on schedule at the Dome the weekend Tech-Georgia play? Surely they don’t have anything going on the week before the SEC championship game. I’d have no problem doing this IF if was ONE game the week of Tech-Georgia. Who cares about the kickoff classic. DRad wants the game moved to balance out the home schedule moreso for each year…so, work out playing the game at the Dome the week it is SUPPOSED to be played and I think everyone would be fine with that, providing Tech gets the game back at home in ‘12.

Joe Schmoe

October 7th, 2009
8:56 pm

StraightJacket, I like the whole double header idea, and college game day would be all over it. Think about it if you could get PAC 10 vs. UGA at 1pm, and BIG 12 vs. GT at 8pm. Would be a great money machine.

RogerDawg

October 7th, 2009
8:58 pm

Bradley-

You’ve done it again. Fired up the UGA fan base with this nonsense. Nobody has said anything offical yet! And if memory serves you’re the one that fired up the UGA fan base in 2003 about playing a home and home with Minnesota (that never happened by the way). Just stop Bradley!

Mark Bradley

October 7th, 2009
8:59 pm

I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know the answer, Johnny.

oldschooldog

October 7th, 2009
9:00 pm

Yes, ‘97 was cruel. Was not played on Thanksgiving Day like ‘71, ‘75, ‘93 and ‘95, however. 1971 was cool, a night game. Heisman winner, Sullivan over Marinaro, was announced at halftime. Truly, all football eyes on the game that year.

southside DAWG

October 7th, 2009
9:00 pm

I say no to the dome. Tech doesnt play UGA good on neutral sites. Ask the basketball team and the baseball team. Turner field is like the DAWGS home away from home. UGA will not do it as the home team because of the UF game they already lose a game in Athens. Tech would be crazy to do this because they cant even sellout their own place.

Sunshine

October 7th, 2009
9:08 pm

No way I want this happening for GT unless the following condintions occur; The game is played in its normal time frame (Thanksgiving weekend), GT gets 2012 home game, or GT VS. UGA in the dome for 2012 as well. Otherwise this all for nothing. No way does DRAD do this without those conditions.

Gordon

October 7th, 2009
9:08 pm

‘93 was the fight game but was a blowout. Those aren’t as bad. I do remember ‘75. We were down 42-0 and then made the final score respectable. The thing is, I was a UGA fan back then. I went to Tech when Herschel was at UGA, and 2 of the 4 years I was at Tech we won 1 game. I tried to pull for both teams but just couldn’t do it. There were just too many UGA fans and they never shut up – but looking back you can’t blame them.

rick

October 7th, 2009
9:12 pm

This would be a huge mistake for Tech, 80% of the dome would be red.

And this is driven by money...why?

October 7th, 2009
9:13 pm

Stupid idea… don’t understand how people think it will bring in more money to the city as the hotels will be empty with 2 local teams playing. This Dawg fan wants to watch it with family on Thanksgiving…. don’t want to face Tech early in the year as it usually takes the Dawgs some time to get rolling….

gt76

October 7th, 2009
9:13 pm

how about each team being the home alternating years playing an intersectional rival – uga vs so cal or gt vs ohio state and get rid of the other southern border schools encroaching on our state. to he!! with the other 49 states when it comes to recruiting in georgia.

Gordon

October 7th, 2009
9:14 pm

Tech did very well on a neutral site in basketball. We won 8 of the 13 Omni games, after starting 0-3 (anyone remember Joe Ward in ‘84?). You are right about baseball though. But that’s another sport where we more than hold our own in Athens. We can’t beat them in basketball there no matter how good we are. Even our final 4 team lost to them there. Maybe this year…

By the way, if the Dome game happens and the football switches years, the basketball and football game will be played in the same city each season. It’s better like it is.

Simpleton

October 7th, 2009
9:14 pm

no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no……h*ll no.

Stonecool

October 7th, 2009
9:14 pm

How about OK. St. declaring Dez Bryant ineligible???