Georgia-Florida game moving to Atlanta? World’s Largest Cocktail Party mulls moving up I-75

UGA fans tailgate during the "World's Largest Cocktail Party," aka the Georgia-Florida game, in the RV parking lot outside Jacksonville's Alltel Stadium. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

UGA fans tailgate during the "World's Largest Cocktail Party," aka the Georgia-Florida game, in the RV parking lot outside Jacksonville's Alltel Stadium. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Tradition defines the Georgia-Florida game as technically being played on neutral turf – “neutral” being Jacksonville and Jacksonville being in Florida.

University of Georgia athletics director Damon Evans says there are no discussions about trying to bring the Georgia-Florida football game to the Georgia Dome.

“No, there are no talks going on,” Evans said Friday. “Gary Stokan of the Atlanta Sports Council has expressed interest in and approached us about moving the game to Atlanta. That’s the extent of it. I wouldn’t call it talks.”

“We’re not asking to move half the games or all of the games to Atlanta,” Stokan said. “We respect tradition. We’re just looking for one of the four.”

Georgia’s contract to play Florida in Jacksonville — a location that has long rankled Dogs fans — expires next year.

“Obviously, we have heard of these kind of discussions before,” Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley said. “We have been strong proponents of keeping the game in Jacksonville and that has not changed.”

— Leon Stafford

WHAT’S YOUR OPINION? Should the Georgia-Florida game call the Dome home every four years or is the annual trip to Jax just too much of a tradition to alter in any way, shape or form? Economically speaking, how much of a boost to the metro economy would this be? Would you be as inclined to go to the game in Atlanta?

Related story: Evans dismisses talks of moving Ga.-Fla. to Atlanta

Photos: ATL vs. JAX: Who’d be the better Ga-Fla host? Vote for the better city!

Photos: Fans party at 2008 Georgia-Florida game

365 comments Add your comment

MP

March 20th, 2009
9:27 am

It’s all about the money. Go ahead, move it to the god forsaken dome…Ruin it. Indoor football on a beautiful fall afternoon with tailgating in the concrete jungle. Makes sense to me!

cajdawg

March 20th, 2009
9:34 am

Florida must laugh at us every other year as we travel down to Jacksonville for our “home” game.
All to make a couple big money coastal contributors happy and the hard-drinking contigency happy. Let’s have the game in Atlanta every year and then we can laugh at them every other year when they they travel to Atlanta “home” game.

Stephanie Burnsed Ritzert

March 20th, 2009
9:35 am

Enter your comments here

Baba O'Riley

March 20th, 2009
9:40 am

cajdawg- relax. After all, playing it at a neutral site inflates CMR’s “road record”.

Chad

March 20th, 2009
9:40 am

I think its a great idea. Its only once every four years. We’ll see how many dedicated Florida fans will make the trip into the dawg pound.

Chamblee Dawg

March 20th, 2009
9:41 am

I, for one, think it would be WONDERFUL to have it hear every so often. too many weekends there at that armpit of a city when I was a UGA student, only to have that awesome 5 hour drive of shame back to Athens after FLA wiped the table with us.

Matt

March 20th, 2009
9:43 am

With all the money that Georgia and Florida have, why not build a stadium halfway between Gainesville and Athens? :D

Ok, just kidding. :) But I would like to see it at the Dome at least once in a while.

FloridaDawg

March 20th, 2009
9:44 am

If the Georgia people DO NOT think we can beat Florida in Jacksonville…just MOVE the game for heavens sake. We can LOSE in Georgia too…so more fans can see it live!
Oh…what is this I’m hearing??…..Vince Dooley laughing!
I hope we grow a backbone….and soon.

Dogger

March 20th, 2009
9:44 am

The game ought to be played home and home. Time to drop that neutral site stuff.

bake

March 20th, 2009
9:45 am

i get the tradition of the game in JAX…i’ve gone a couple times and it was a blast. i just with we could play the turds in sanford every other year. the atmosphere that would create, for us and for them, as a home game every other year would be incredible. i can’t imagine ohio state – michigan or oklahoma – nebraska being played on a nuetral field. i know texass and oklahoma play in dallass every year but they should change too now that they are in the same conference. that home game against your rival is what the fans deserve…not having to make a 300 mile trek. so…i say bye bye JAX and no to the dome!

RedGADawg

March 20th, 2009
9:45 am

I prefer either alternate between Jacksonville and Atlanta, and they be considered a neutral site with tickets split equally or a four year cycle with Jacksonvile, Atlanta, Gainesville and Athens rotating. Neutral sites equal tickets and the home games as ususal. The older I become the less appealing is the time and money it requires to go to the game in Jacksonville. Many great memories, times change, if the majority don’t want Atlanta & Jax – go to home and home.

Too Easy

March 20th, 2009
9:45 am

Stupid. Either make it home-and-away (not a great idea), or leave it like it is. What good is once every 4 years?

And, Baba, you are correct that Richt’s ‘road’ record is better than his overall ‘away from Athens’ record percentage-wise, but either way, it ain’t bad. How does yours compare?

Richard Fields

March 20th, 2009
9:46 am

If CMR is about DAWG tradition then keep the game in JAX. Enough of this talk! If they move the game I might have to start rooting for the Jackets!

ChewDawg

March 20th, 2009
9:46 am

I’d love to see it alternate, but also don’t have a problem with it being held annually in Jacksonville. Every UGA/UF game I’ve attended as been in Jacksonville and it really does have a great atmosphere. Having it in Atlanta could change that atmosphere and make it less attractive.

The biggest disadvantage to having it in Jacksonville is the impact on the teams. UF gets up the morning of and makes the hour drive over to play the game. They prep and spend the entire week before hand in their natural setting. UGA, on the other hand, has a 6 hour drive and has to give up Fridays and their normal routine to make the trip down. That’s a fair deal on away games, but giving up Fridays and traveling that far for “home” game seems out of whack.

If it happens…Great! If not, it’s still a great game and doesn’t change anything.

At the end of the day, I’d rather they just play at their own stadiums. Is it really a “home” game when half the fans are for the other team?

Nooziegirl

March 20th, 2009
9:48 am

By golly, it is not just the coastal contributors you make happy by having the game in Jax. How about all of us long-time contributors and supporters that live in southeast Georgia and and have for years and years driven to Athens for games and back on the same day just to support our team. That is ONE game that is convenient for US and there is no way in %$#% I would want to go Atlanta for that game! Leave it alone!

AugustaDawg

March 20th, 2009
9:48 am

Would it provide a “mental edge” to play close to home? Maybe, maybe not. We used to cream the gators up until the 90’s, now, where has our program gone? Or should I ask, where has Florida’s gone?

Leave it in Jax'ville

March 20th, 2009
9:49 am

Let’s just make all the Gainesville people drive to Orland first and then back to Jaxville. Then the drive time will be equal.

jp

March 20th, 2009
9:49 am

about time people realize driving 7 hours to a game is not considered a home game in any year. It may as well be like when LSU played at Arizona State but called it a home game during Hurricane Katrina. What do people not understand that playing a game in Florida means its a home game for Florida no matter how the record books look back upon it.

Dawg92

March 20th, 2009
9:50 am

Horrible idea. Keep it in Jax. Go Dawgs.

baconboy

March 20th, 2009
9:50 am

So on those years the Florida fans will have to travel to Atlanta twice, I guess. The Georgia Dome is practically a home field for us anyway – we’ve played a lot more games there than Georgia.

doodoobailey

March 20th, 2009
9:50 am

i would rather stop playing the game that have it at that ghetto a$$ dome…no tailgating, just bums ready to steal your stuff while you are at the game..leave it at JAX or go home and home, but stay away from the dome.

Ryno

March 20th, 2009
9:50 am

I don’t want the game to go to Atlanta – but I wouldn’t mind seeing it in Tampa. That’s a better town than Jacksonville with more stuff to do.

Not safe at the dome

March 20th, 2009
9:50 am

Don’t move the game to Atlanta until it is safe to do so.

mightyKC

March 20th, 2009
9:53 am

we can’t win in jax, lets change it to atlanta! boo frickin hoo!

No true bacon boy

March 20th, 2009
9:53 am

U gator taters think you are soooo…good. Tide kicked your butt for most of that game last year and if the Dawgs would have gotten a few breaks they would have beaten you also. Need I mention Ole Miss.

SC Dawg

March 20th, 2009
9:55 am

Jacksonville’s stadium holds around 84,000 for the Georgia – Florida game. The Georgia Dome holds around 71,000. That means there would be 6,500 fans at each school who could have gotten tickets in Jacksonville who wouldn’t be able to get them if the game was played in Atlanta.

Pulpwood Smith

March 20th, 2009
9:59 am

Leave it like it is. I like to go to Saint Simons and get drunk. Atlanta sucks anyway.

bank walker

March 20th, 2009
9:59 am

This Dawg says LEAVE IT ALONE! It is a tradition that both side enjoy to the fullest! The Dome is not a good venue. The tailgating will be terrible!

scottinjaxbeach

March 20th, 2009
9:59 am

As a life long supporter of the Dawgs and living here here in Jacksonville Beach I can assure you that the Jacksonville Vistors and Convention Bureau are going to do everything in their power to prevent this game from leaving. Believe it or not but this game is the biggest moneymaker for the city of Jacksonville. All I am asking is for these gay-turd fans to admit this is a home game for them! But to put this game in a dome on a fall afternoon would be idiotic! Leave it to the moneybags in Atlanta to defame this rivalry in this kind of way!

jdawg

March 20th, 2009
10:00 am

I really do not like tailgating in downtown Atlanta…I know that they will not go home at home due to financial consideration. At this time I would get the best deal and leave it alone..

Champ

March 20th, 2009
10:01 am

Move the game to las vegas!

Please god no!!

March 20th, 2009
10:01 am

As an atlanta resident i beg you not to do this. It is bad enough that Georgia frat boys live in Buckhead and retire at thirty to the Highlands but we can not take a full on assault like that. That would be too many hapless rednecks in a great city at once. I think they should move the game to some redneck part of mississippi where the georgia and florida fans would feel more at home.

tom bowden

March 20th, 2009
10:01 am

As a Dawg forced to live in exile in Jacksonville, I can assure this town is anything but neutral! The coverage of the broadcast and print media is at least 95% UF; they barely cover FSU or Miami, much less UGA. I would like for someone to explain how Florida traveling 80 miles, and UGA traveling 350 miles, makes Jacksonvile neutral. The week of the game, Florida gets to stay on campus using their facilities for practice until Friday. Georgia has to leave several days early, stay in hotels, and use whatever practice facilities they can find. And Gators, I don’t want hear about “Georgia fans never said anything about playing in Jacksonville while winning in the ’70’s and ’80’s”. Fair is fair – both teams should have to travel the same distance, or at least rotate between Atlanta and Jacksonville. Better yet, let’s go home and home.

Otto

March 20th, 2009
10:01 am

cajdawg is correct. Further keep the game in Jax it keeps the magic of the game. The Tx OU Red River Shootout is the only other neutral site game that cames close the Jax game. Terrible idea never have liked watching anything downtown.

CMR has had a great road record why should Jax be any different? Last year was the first blowout loss. Get UGA a week off before the game like UF has had, that is the difference make not the location.

tenn.DAWG

March 20th, 2009
10:02 am

Please don’t SCREW-UP one of the GREATEST TRADITIONS in college football.Most all the fans of other schools across the country are envious of this game,and for good reason.

mk52

March 20th, 2009
10:02 am

By the way…Georgia doesn’t drive to the game, they fly!!!

And I would imagine that during the 80’s, when UGA was kicking UF’s butt, not one UGA fan was in favor of moving the game at all.

I’m a UGA fan and I say keep the game in Jacksonville. Great atmosphere and it’s still one of the coolest sights to see the stadium split right down the middle.

Otto

March 20th, 2009
10:02 am

Further it is a great recruiting trip. I wish we could prevent Bama and other teams from playing neutral site games in the dome.

Jacksonville Loves the Dawgs

March 20th, 2009
10:03 am

way to ruin this rivalry…playing in the ATL would kill what is arguably football’s greatest rivalry between two high powered teams…quit whining dawg fans: getting beat by 30+ points isn’t going to change if we play in atlanta, it will jsut make all you people who think jacksonville isn’t neutral find something else to complain about…KEEP THE GAME IN JACKSONVILLE!!!

Bill

March 20th, 2009
10:03 am

I wonder if UGA would play other SEC teams at a nuetral site like Alabama in Birmingham, LSU in New Orleans, UT in Chattanooga or AU in Phenix City. Seems like UGA gets the short in of the stick. Heck even AU pulled out of Birmingham because it was 30 minutes closer to Tuscaloosa than it was to Opelika.

Jimmy

March 20th, 2009
10:04 am

YES!! Rotate between Atlanta and Jacksonville !!

AltamahaDawg

March 20th, 2009
10:04 am

You got to be F***ing kidding me!

Bull Gator

March 20th, 2009
10:05 am

This is just a ruse for Richt to shift blame for the fact that UF has owned him. Jax, Atl…doesn’t matter. The stadium will still be split right down the middle. How upset will all the UGA fans be when they don’t get to return to St. Simons to drown their sorrows?

wreckmaniac

March 20th, 2009
10:06 am

The point of this game is drinking. Everybody knows the outcome of the game before its played. Don’t ruin a good thing. Everybody gets drunk, FL wins. Its been a great recipe.

VT

March 20th, 2009
10:06 am

As a former St. Simon’s Island resident, I like the idea of alternating where the game is held. Currently, the Island gets overrun every Ga/Jax weekend. The beaches are absolutely trashed, and this year some idiot even had the bright idea of giving away beer at the beach. In plastic cups. Who did the clean-up? Not the football fans; they were already drunk again at the games. The islanders did. By the way, thank you to all the volunteers for the beach clean and for helping the already fragile coastal eco-system.

wreckmaniac

March 20th, 2009
10:07 am

This will never happen because the Dome is NOT, NOT, NOT a neutral site. Its UGA’s home field. The SEC should not even be playing the
SEC champ game on UGA’s home field.

baconboy

March 20th, 2009
10:07 am

I realized that I was wrong in my previous comment, because I forgot all of the Peach Bowl games that Georgia has played at the stadium — they’ve played in the same number of Peach Bowls since the Dome opened as we’ve won national championships, so that must be why it slipped my mind. But if you only count SEC championship games, we’ve played there 7 times and UGA 3, so my first point works. Did I mention the national championship we won there in basketball?? Love that place.

Gen Neyland

March 20th, 2009
10:08 am

Heckfire, just move it up to Valdosta every other year and keep the seating 50-50…

DirtyDawg

March 20th, 2009
10:08 am

I know it’s ‘profit deal’ for Atlanta, but speaking as a ‘fortunate one’ that for years was able to attend the GA/FLA game, to change it to Atlanta – even if it were just once every four years – would be just ‘effin’ wrong. Sorry, but a long weekend (or short week, if you were lucky) at the beach, with golf and stuff, is way better than a couple of nights in Atlanta. In fact, most of the Georgia fans wouldn’t bother to stay over-night (guess that means we’re just trying to get our hands on Florida money?).

Don’t spoil this tradition for all those fans that love to have this mini-vacation every year. I mean, for most of us we’re just gonna watch it on TV anyway, so what’s it matter where they play it. The only thing we have to do is make that trip back home more enjoyable by winning the damn thing at least as often as they do.

HBTD?

March 20th, 2009
10:09 am

Most of the Gaytors players are from Georgia High Schools. The move would allow their families to attend every four years.

Home&Home

March 20th, 2009
10:10 am

Make it Home & home and be done with it. Traditions fade over time and this one has had it’s day. It’s simple economics and UGA needs the home games and freedom to schedule better OOC opponents.