Does playing Florida in Jacksonville every year hurt UGA’s recruiting efforts?
By playing Florida at a “neutral site” every year, UGA loses out on the opportunity to host and entertain recruits for an additional home game every other year against one of its biggest rivals. Also keep in mind that the two teams are UGA and Florida, the flagship universities for two states that rank among the top in the U.S. for producing college football prospects, along with Texas and California.
On the other hand, there are some that say that having the Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville every year ultimately helps both schools with recruiting. Over the years, the game has developed a tremendous amount of history and tradition, generates an enormous amount of hype and buzz, and is more like a bowl game-like atmosphere than part of the regular season.
While it is doubtful that any prospective student-athlete would sign with UGA or Florida specifically to participate in the storied series, it is certainly not a negative when recruiting an athlete from either state. They know it’s a big deal.
One last thing: I do think UGA’s home schedule this year has hurt the Bulldogs with recruiting. Again, we’re talking about this year specifically. UGA opened the season against Boise State at a neutral location, thereby eliminating another golden opportunity to bring recruits on campus for a big game.
In the first two months of the season, UGA has only had three opportunities to entertain prospects – against South Carolina (strong turnout of prospects), along with Coastal Carolina and Mississippi State (both had a moderate, or limited turnout). Please keep in mind that there can be an emotional aspect to recruiting; some prospects, when all schools are equal, can really be won over by attending a big game in an electrifying atmosphere. It can leave an unforgettable impression. UGA’s schedule sets up more favorably for recruiting next month with three home games, including the Nov. 12 showdown with Auburn which will be attended by many top recruiting targets.
But again, that’s only this year’s schedule. We’re talking about long term. Here’s the question again: Does playing Florida in Jacksonville every year hurt UGA’s recruiting efforts? Please post your thoughts below.
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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