Answering questions about Tech-Georgia and the Dome

Athens – By now, I’m pretty sure there’s been a lot more talk in the blogosphere than between the actual parties about the possibility of a Georgia-Georgia Tech football game in the Georgia Dome in September 2011. But, what the heck, let’s talk about it a bit more. . . .

So what would be the advantage for each party?

For the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff Game: an attractive matchup in a year in which it currently lacks a matchup. Organizers have LSU-North Carolina lined up for 2010 and Tennessee-N.C. State for 2012, but need a 2011 pairing.  Atlanta Sports Council president Gary Stokan has talked to just about every program  in the SEC and ACC and a good number of programs in other conferences,  but Tech-Georgia would be hard to top.

For both schools: a payday of $2.3 million or so. That’s no more than Georgia makes from a home game in Athens –- actually, it’s probably less –- but if the $2.3 million came without giving up a home game, it’d be a windfall.

For Tech: To better balance the appeal of its schedule, which currently has perhaps the three most marketable opponents (Georgia, Clemson and Virginia Tech) coming to Bobby Dodd Stadium in odd-numbered years, Tech would like to shift its home games against Georgia to even-numbered years. That could be accomplished if Georgia agrees to play at the Dome (rather than Bobby Dodd Stadium) in 2011, then to play at Tech (rather than in Athens) in 2012, then rotate annually between the campuses thereafter.

For Georgia: It’s not as clear what’s in it for Georgia, and that’s probably why UGA, although willing to consider the idea, seems not at all certain it wants to do this.  What lured the likes of Alabama and LSU to the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game  is exposure in the Atlanta market, but it’s not as if the Bulldogs are lacking that. It’s a guaranteed national-TV date, but then again, Georgia’s first three games this season were on national TV.  Stokan’s toughest sell will be convincing UGA there’s a compelling reason to mess with the tradition of Georgia-Georgia Tech, even for one game.

So, if this were to happen, Georgia-Georgia Tech definitely would be played two consecutive years in Atlanta, right?

Correct. When UGA fans first got wind of this proposal, many assumed that Tech would simply move its 2011 home game to the Dome. No way. The idea is to remove the 2011 game from the schedule rotation by playing it at a “neutral site” with the seats divided equally between the schools,  then resume the rotation in 2012 where it left off in 2010. Both sides are very clear that they will not lose a home game to the Dome.

Doesn’t Georgia already have a season-opening game for 2011?

Yes,  UGA is contractually committed to play Louisville on Sept. 3, 2011. Of course, it’s always possible to buy your way out of such contracts if you’re willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. But as of now Georgia hasn’t made any move toward changing the Louisville commitment.

Is this  an indication that Georgia and Georgia Tech see merit in playing their annual game before the conference schedules, rather than in its traditional end-of-season slot?

Not really. All indications are that, even if this Dome deal were to happen, it’d be seen as a one-time event and the game then would return to its late-November slot.

Just wondering: When was the last time the game was played before the month of November?

Oct. 24, 1903.

What’s the timeline for a decision?

By all accounts, there isn’t one.

What does Mark Richt think about the idea?

Here’s what he said  when asked about it after practice Wednesday night: “That question is kind of catching me a little off guard, so I think I’ll just wait until I talk to my athletic director before I start making any comments on that one.”

48 comments Add your comment


October 8th, 2009
4:43 am


October 8th, 2009
6:54 am

Nothing in it for UGA and as far as I can see; nothing in it for GT either. Why move to an indoor setting on carpet and away from the college atmosphere? I’m tired of corporate what ever muscling in on everything to make a buck. No thanks I like my Thanksgiving weekend just as it is. Maybe the Atlanta Sports Whatever could book Georgia Southern and Jacksonville State for their money. I am at a lost as to just how this would benefit Atlanta anyway. There will be no fans staying over to spend money since most live with in driving distance. Hotels and restaurants would not benefit. The schools would not benefit and if Tech is afraid of a hard schedule then let their AD work a more favorable schedule down the road. Leave this one alone. It isn’t broke so quite trying to fix it.


October 8th, 2009
7:13 am

As much as I’d like the game, there’s no advantage in it for UGA. We’d have to rearrange or 2011 opener with Louisville and on top of that would have to find another home game in 2012 because the Tech game would be a home game for them instead of us. Many more scheduling problems for us. Not a good deal.


October 8th, 2009
7:34 am

Worst. Idea. Ever. Watching a game in the Dome in that antiseptic atmosphere is just horrid. College football should never be played indoors and this game should never be played other than at Thanksgiving. Everyone bitches about the ASC and now both schools are going to bend to them. I guess that it has now been established what both schools are they are just haggling over the price.

Fed up

October 8th, 2009
7:53 am

Next year is scheduled to be a Dawg home game with the Nerds. Tech can’t fill its own little stadium and they know the Dawg fans would flock to the Dome so when it’s scheduled at Grant Field they can have it at the Dome but don’t take away another home game from us. We already given a home game to Florida and I hate the thought of going to Atlanta for our Home game

Topp Dogg

October 8th, 2009
7:57 am

Maybe GSU will agree to play GT for this game ,might give Tech a chance for a cheap win.


October 8th, 2009
8:44 am

I’m a Tech Fan (and former UGA fan). I do not think this is a good idea. This is TV and corporate driving the bus. Having UGA come to Tech or Tech to UGA is part of the whole mystic. The rivalry has lasted longer than TV and chicken sandwiches (all due respect to the best fast food restaraunt in America).

The Tech-UGA game is aboout that Tech verses UGA. It doesn’t need a Corporate Logo slapped on top of it. It is and sould be pure collegiate competition. What good is “Grant Field” or “Sanford Stadium” if you use a generic dome to host the game.

Corporate folks, put the idea away and let the players, students, and University keep their traditions. Quit trying to make money off of other folks’ assets.


October 8th, 2009
8:44 am

If this were to happen, Georgia would only have 5 home games in 2012. Georgia plays South Carolina, Louisville, Alabama, Auburn and Kentucky on the road. They play Florida in Jacksonville. That is 6. Throw in Georgia Tech at Grant Field and it is 7 games away. The 5 SEC games are non-negotiable leaving only Louisville as an option to change. If Louisville and Georgia agreed to flip flop the 2011 and 2012 games it would leave UGA with 6 home games each year. Otherwise, Georgia would only have 5 in 2012 and this will never fly…nor should it.


October 8th, 2009
9:00 am

Playing Tech at the Dome under these circumstances is a no-win for Georgia.

However, I would love to see Georgia give up an away game one year to play SOMEONE (probably not Tech) in the Dome, in some kind of matchup that wouldn’t normally happen. Like Bama, UT and LSU have done.


October 8th, 2009
9:07 am

UGA fans . . . This is an issue we can all agree on. Cut the knocks on Tech’s ability to “fill their own little stadium”.

Not that it matters to some of you but Tech does have less than half the alumni / student population base as UGA. So, it stands to reason that their stadium would be smaller than UGAs. Our stadium is 55,000. I believe that is more than half of UGAs. Additionally, our graduates spread much wider than UGA grads after graduation.

We know all this and are fine with it . . . We went to Tech for the nationally recognized degree that takes many of our grads out of the state. We are also fine with all the Bubbas walking into Walmart to get their UGA gear despite never even stepping foot onto the UGA campus. . . . That’s cool.

We like to win in football as much as the next guy. The four national championships are proof of that desire. We have won championships before UGA and since UGA’s 1980 team. So, given our “little stadium”, we have done pretty good. And by the way, we have more SEC championships than half of the current SEC teams. Only AL, TN UGA, FL, and AU exceed us in SEC championships and we have been out of the SEC since the early 1960’s.


October 8th, 2009
9:30 am

Waist of time. Plenty of other teams out there for the chicken folks to get. Get some teams that actually bring some money to GA.

[...] Tech about playing in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Kickoff game in the Georgia Dome.6.  Here’s a Q&A about the potential move to the Dome.7.  Mark Bradley of The AJC is in favor of the [...]


October 8th, 2009
9:38 am

If it ain’t broke,don’t fix it.

Mike (original formula)

October 8th, 2009
9:42 am

Mark, you had me for a couple of sentences before this little gem “We are also fine with all the Bubbas walking into Walmart to get their UGA gear despite never even stepping foot onto the UGA campus. . . . That’s cool.” I thought you wanted the insults to stop. You just sunk your entire argument after that with your shots at UGA.

Sanford Drive

October 8th, 2009
9:46 am

The point of the dome season opener is to schedule teams that don’t typically play each other (e.g. Alabama v. Va Tech). We play Tech every year and the dome sucks anyway.

This idea is dumb.


October 8th, 2009
9:47 am

How about Tech verses TN, or Tech vs AU or Tech veres AL (ouch)?

How about UGA vs FSU (bring back Fred Biletnikoff (FSU) and Fran Tarkenton)

How about UGA verses Miami

How about UGA verses VA Tech


October 8th, 2009
9:51 am

Mike, I apologize. I did let it get away from me. I do get tired of the “little” slap. You are right, and I should not have done that.


October 8th, 2009
10:02 am

All for these two teams playing in the game but not against each other.


October 8th, 2009
10:03 am

Mike — That’s just the way it is. Have you ever been to the Walmart in Toccoa? I had to live there for 2 years…it’s the truth.

Mike (original formula)

October 8th, 2009
10:21 am

Burdell, I hear whay you’re saying. I see it too. I’m not proud of it, but I guess that’s why they call our fanbase a “Nation” and not “just the elite”.


October 8th, 2009
10:25 am

Mike — Well put. Good luck in Knoxvegas….that orange makes my eyes bleed.

Go Jackets!


October 8th, 2009
10:30 am

Well Mark since you wanted to talk about Techs SEC titles why did Tech leave the SEC? About the stadium you guys are the only one that I can remember ever taking seats out of the stadium when you remodeled it a few years back.
The game should stay the same. Stokan is an idiot. Why should UGA play away from Athens two years in a row

[...] Tim Tucker of the AJC answers some questions about this game. He says that both schools would benefit from the $2.3 million payday, but Tech would get the better of the schedule change. Tucker states that Georgia “seems not at all certain it wants to do this.” This is most likely because it would cause massive changes to Georgia’s future schedules. [...]


October 8th, 2009
10:49 am

Here’s a question for all my Dawg bretheren. How would you feel about dropping the Tech game from the UGA schedule altogether? It would never happen, but from my perspective, it’s always been a no win situation for the team and the fans.


October 8th, 2009
11:26 am

Southside — What the heck are you talking about? When Tech’s stadium was re-done a few years back, they added an entire second level to the north endzone. How is that removing seats?

HBTD — You sound scared. You’re right though…it is a no win situation for your team and fans…at least for the next few years anyway!



October 8th, 2009
11:35 am

Burdell – LOL. Apparenly you are new to this area. 14 wins in the last 18 years does NOT = “scared”.


October 8th, 2009
11:39 am

Burdell- In 1967 it would hold 58,000. In 1988 it was reduced to 46,000. In 2003 back up to 55,000. That is how u removed seats. Look it up its on your own teams web page.
Still no answer from Mark why Tech left the SEC?


October 8th, 2009
11:43 am

Southside Dawg – Come on, you know the answer to that………….GT considers themselves better than the other schools in the SEC and as all the GT faithful like to say,”at Tech, we recruit a different kind of athlete.” That line just cracks me up everytime I hear a Tech fan say it.


October 8th, 2009
11:48 am

HBTD- Yea its funny
I also think its funny about Mark throwing #’s out about titles but doesnt even know why his team left the SEC.


October 8th, 2009
11:50 am

Burdell – nice to see Tech decide to play Georgia Southern. Must have been scared the last 10 years.


October 8th, 2009
12:36 pm

We left the SEC because Bobby Dodd hated Bear Bryant.

Not to let facts get in your way or anything, but we play UGA every year, Ole Miss bailed on their games with us, we have Bama scheduled, Auburn scheduled, South Carolina scheduled, and play three SEC schools this year. We don’t duck anyone.


October 8th, 2009
12:57 pm

Dan – “Bobby Dodd hated Bear Bryant.” Do you know the reason behind the hatred??


October 8th, 2009
12:59 pm

Mark – I am glad you are former UGA fan, you belong with the bugs. The UGA fanbase is much better off without you. Enjoy playing in your second tier conference and pre-new years day bowls.


October 8th, 2009
1:03 pm

Mark, Burdell,

Referencing your Wal-Mart comments from earlier. I for one never buy from the Republic of China retail store. I buy all my UGA items from the online store or when I visit the campus. But that not being the issue of this blog I would prefer to stay with in the intelligent comments that was started by both UGA and GT fans. This is one area I think we are all on agreement and brother that don’t happen much. ;)


October 8th, 2009
1:12 pm

“No to Dome!” This is not a good idea. It would be yet another “corporat-ized” invasion of CFB. The comparison to the Iron Bowl at Legion Field doesn’t fly either because if my history is correct, that was a hat-trick (pun partially intended) of Bear Bryant to lure Auburn into a “neutral site” that was of course completely UN-neutral.
This is different and times are different. It was pointed out earlier, but UGA already plays at an annual neutral site (Jax); this would further erode Athens for yet another home game in those odd “Dome” years.
I am glad that Tech has become more competitive again. I think that bodes well for football in Georgia at all levels. Though I was just a child then, I think the biggest mistake Bobby Dodd made was to leave the SEC and try to make GT into the “Notre Dame of the South.” I’d like to see ‘Tech play more SEC teams; provides lots of fun to watch if for nothing else, geographical interest (and no Dan, that is not a veiled rebuttal to your “not ducking anyone,” but I must differ with your take on Dodd leaving the SEC because of Bryant. I’ve read in several journals that the “Notre Dame” facet is the more widely accepted reason). Seeing GT play Florida or Tennessee this year would be fun: thinks GT would likely riddle UT.


October 8th, 2009
2:06 pm

The reason Tech left the ACC is because the SEC lowered the number of scholarship players you could have on a team. The reason Tech is playing more SEC teams right now is because of where your AD came from. If not scared to play anybody why did it take so long to set up a game with Georgia Southern

Tech fans prospective

October 8th, 2009
3:20 pm

southsideDAWG…you are correct on the reason Tech left the SEC. There may be some truth to the fact that Tech is now playing more SEC teams because of where our AD came from, however the real reason Tech’s top priority in scheduling non-conference games against SEC opponents is to improve Tech’s strength of schedule. If Tech is going to be recognized nationally, they have to have big wins out of conference along with conference wins. On the contrary, Georgia does not need those tough out of conference wins (as much as GT) as their SOS is maintained mostly by in conference games. Therefore a scheduled game vs. Georgia Southern is not top priority for GT. I’ll bet that game did not get scheduled until Paul Johnson got here for obvious reasons.

You sound ignorant (and I don’t believe you are) when you state that Tech is scared to play GSU after already playing Auburn, Notre Dame, Miss St. and scheduling Vanderbilt, Alabama, Ole Miss (Ole Miss backed out), Kansas, and South Carolina.


October 8th, 2009
3:35 pm

If Tech played UGA the first game of the season then thier season would be over. Its the only game they care about and can sell out. When they win they buy Gold rings like its National Championship!


October 8th, 2009
4:50 pm

Thanksgiving NOT Labor Day.
Then, now, always.
Sic ‘em!

Mark (a different one)

October 8th, 2009
5:44 pm

I am a 25 year transplant married to a season ticket holder at UGA. No to the Dome. We enjoy the entire atmosphere in Athens, and we enjoy the trip to Jacksonville. I may go to the Dome for post season play and occasionally for the Falcons but I don’t enjoy the tailgating. My wife hates it but I also root for Tech as long as its not Thanksgiving Weekend. I tell her it only helps our strength of schedule if Tech is undefeated when we play.

Scheduling is about money, and UGA needs to remember not to fix something that ain’t broke. I also believe the same goes for Tech. BTW, isn’t GA State planning to use the Dome for home games?

Alabama Jack

October 8th, 2009
5:58 pm

I was at Tech when we left the SEC. Whether it was over the incident described below or the scholarship limit – I don’t know. For those unaware at that time Alabama and certain other schools would recruit players and then hold “tryouts” for scholarships, the number of which was initially limited only be the school’s athletic budget. Then limits were imposed. Coach Dodd felt the school had an obligation to its players and those unable to play football due to injury, etc. should not be taken off scholarship or counted against the lmit. The SEC and later, I guess, the NCAA determined that such players still counted against your scholarship limit – which put Dodd in a position he couldn’t tolerate. Re: the Chick Graning – Darwin Holt incident, I remember the pictures, and also remember that afterward, while not friends Graning and Holt were civil toward each other.

“The single incident that became a national symbol for the type of dirty football allegedly encouraged by Bryant occurred in the fourth quarter on a routine punt return on which Alabama’s return man called for a fair catch. The score was 10-0 and Alabama was determined to pound the last hopes for victory from the Tech squad.

Georgia Tech’s Chick Graning was running down field on punt coverage when he saw the fair catch signal. Thinking the play was over, he pulled up, temporarily dropping his guard. That was all Alabama’s Darwin Holt, a Texas native and a senior who’d followed Bryant from A&M, needed to see. He sprung at Graning, throwing a forearm into the unsuspecting young man’s face and shattering his jaw.

Everywhere else in America, and especially in Georgia Tech’s hometown of Atlanta, it was the story of the week. Graning’s jaw and cheekbone were shattered, he’d lost five teeth, suffered a concussion and, since his nasal bone had also been destroyed, his sinuses had flooded with blood. The Atlanta Constitution ran photos of the brutalized young Graning lying in his hospital bed with his face smothered in bandages. The papers called for Holt to be suspended for what was, to them, an obviously late and dirty hit.”

BTW, Graning never played another down of football.


October 8th, 2009
6:05 pm

I’d prefer to keep the game as is, and have Tech play some other SEC team over Labor Day. Tech vs. Tennessee, Florida, LSU, Alabama, or Auburn would all be interesting.


October 8th, 2009
6:15 pm

DawgNation Said: Nothing in it for UGA and as far as I can see; nothing in it for GT either. Why move to an indoor setting on carpet and away from the college atmosphere? I’m tired of corporate what ever muscling in on everything to make a buck. No thanks I like my Thanksgiving weekend just as it is. Maybe the Atlanta Sports Whatever could book Georgia Southern and Jacksonville State for their money. I am at a lost as to just how this would benefit Atlanta anyway. There will be no fans staying over to spend money since most live with in driving distance. Hotels and restaurants would not benefit. The schools would not benefit and if Tech is afraid of a hard schedule then let their AD work a more favorable schedule down the road. Leave this one alone. It isn’t broke so quite trying to fix it.

DawgNation wins this thread

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Alabama Jack

October 8th, 2009
8:16 pm

More on Holt-Graning and Tech leaving the SEC

“All hell broke out in the fourth quarter against Alabama in Legion Field the next week. During the fourth quarter, Tech punted to the Tide’s Billy Richardson. Richardson signaled for a fair catch and caught the ball. Chick Graning, of Tech, was near the sidelines covering against a possible run up the sideline . Graning relaxed after Richardson made the fair-catch.

Darwin Holt of Alabama kept coming and drove his elbow up under Graning’s face mask and trotted off the field. Graning lay unconscious on the field, his playing days over. The damage was fracture of the facial bones, five missing front teeth and the remainder of the front teeth broken, fracture of the nasal bone, fracture of the right maxillary sinus and sinus filled with blood, fracture of the bone beneath the right eye, cerebral concussion, and possible fracture of the base of the skull.

Films of the game showed it was deliberate. There had been other incidences with Holt in other games of excessive and unnecessary roughness. Holt had also bitten Billy Williamson on the leg in the same game.

Dodd wanted Bryant to suspend Holt for several games to insure he would learn to play the game without intentionally trying to maim other players. Bryant refused and Dodd was livid over the incident and Bryant’s unwillingness to correct the situation. Dodd became angry with Bryant, and it was years before the two buried the hatchet regarding the incident. Dodd never could reconcile himself to accept Bryant’s standard of coaching his players.

Dodd has always insisted the Holt-Graning incident had nothing to do with the termination of the series between Alabama and Tech. Dodd said the decision was made prior to that game. He had already informed the Bear of the termination of the series.

Bobby Dodd insisted there was no other reason he left the SEC, other than the 140 Rule. The 140 Rule stated a college program could only have 140 football and basketball players on scholarship at any one time. The teams were allowed to sign up to 45 players a year, but could not exceed the 140 Rule.

Dodd would not allow any of the football players choosing Tech to be dismissed from Tech, because they were not good players. Dodd said, “it is not the recruits fault for not making the squad, it was the coaches fault for misjudging their talents”. If a recruit came to Tech, he would stay on a football scholarship until he graduated.

Dodd would sign about 30-32 players a year to meet the guidelines, but the other schools in the SEC were offering 45 scholarships a year. Those players, not good enough to fall under the 140 Rule, had their scholarships withdrawn and sent packing before the end of each year. Dodd insisted, the recruiting of athletes by this method amounted to nothing more than a tryout for a scholarship.

Dodd thought it unfair and would not withdraw scholarships from his players. He wanted the SEC to limit the amount of scholarships to about 32 per year. This would keep the other schools from offering 45 scholarships, picking the best, and sending the rest packing.

A vote was to be taken by the presidents of the colleges on the issue, and Dodd made it clear, Tech would have to leave the SEC unless the rule was changed. Dodd said he would live with 10, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 recruits per year as long as he did not have to chase any of his players off.

The presidents were split six for Dodd’s position and six against. Bear had promised Dodd he would get his president to vote for Dodd’s position, which would have changed the rule. When the meeting was held, Bryant did not show up and the Alabama president voted against Dodd’s position and the 140 Rule was upheld. Tech’s president immediately walked to the podium and announced Tech was withdrawing from the SEC. Bryant never told Dodd why he reneged on his promise.

Slide Rule

October 8th, 2009
8:35 pm

The Ga. Tech-Alabama rivalry was very heated. It was due primarily to abuse of scholarship limitations and one particularly dirty play at Tuscaloosa, which I saw on TV. Here’s the story from the Wikipedia:

“Dodd’s tenure included Georgia Tech’s withdrawal from the Southeastern Conference. The initial spark for Dodd’s withdrawal was a historic feud with Alabama Crimson Tide Coach Bear Bryant. The feud began when Tech was visiting the Tide at Denny Stadium in 1961. After a Tech punt, Alabama fair-caught the ball. Chick Granning (sic) of Tech was playing coverage and relaxed after the signal for the fair catch. Darwin Holt of Alabama continued play and smashed his elbow into Granning’s face causing severe fracturing in his face, a broken nose, and blood-filled sinuses. Granning was knocked unconscious and suffered a severe concussion, the result of which left him unable to play football ever again. Dodd sent Bryant a letter asking Bryant to suspend Holt after game film indicated Holt had intentionally injured Granning.[16] Bryant never suspended Holt. The lack of discipline infuriated Dodd and sparked Dodd’s interest in withdrawing from the SEC.

Another issue of concern for Dodd was Alabama’s and other SEC schools’ over-recruitment of players.[16] Universities would recruit more players than they had roster space for. During the summer practice sessions, the teams in question would cut the players well after signing day thus preventing the cut players from finding new colleges to play for. Dodd appealed the SEC administration to punish the “tryout camps” of his fellow SEC members but the SEC did not. Finally, Dodd withdrew Georgia Tech from the SEC in 1963.”

The Wiki doesn’t mention that Tech lost to Alabama 10-0, and Graning’s jaw was severely broken. The next year, 1962, Tech upset #1 Bama 7-6 when they intercepted Joe Namath’s 2-point conversion pass in the end zone with 1:05 to play. It was Alabama’s first loss in 27 games.

Wikipedia on Georgia_Tech_Yellow_Jackets_football#cite_note-doddbryant-15

Slide Rule

October 8th, 2009
8:47 pm

Alabama Jack – I didn’t realize were were posting similar info; thanks! I remember the sequenced photos in the AJC of the Darwin Holt incident. Absolutely no doubt as to the dirty play.

Roll Tide Roll

October 9th, 2009
3:30 pm

Will UGA blackout and Tech whiteout their halves of the Dome?

LMAO at teh state of football in Georgia

Bob Respess

October 26th, 2009
8:47 pm

Boy, I started reading the comments expecting the usual low-brow name calling and I got a very interesting history lesson. Thanks Slide Rule and Alabama Jack!