ATHENS – Georgia and Auburn will definitely move their annual game towards the autumn starting from the 2020 season and in the near future. And the Bulldogs and Tennessee will also change date.
That's what Jere Morehead, president of the UGA, and Greg McGarity, director of sports, at the annual winter meeting of the board of directors of the Athletic Association, Wednesday at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education. They confirmed that the Bulldogs and Tigers, who meet every year since 1892 in what is called the "oldest rival of the Great South", will no longer face the month of November, which is a long tradition .
This will now move to the most recent location in Tennessee at the end of September or early October. The Flights, in turn, will be moved in the last month of the season.
Meanwhile, it does not appear that the Bulldogs will host Auburn at Sanford Stadium two years in a row. Georgia had to play at the Jordan-Hare Tigers Stadium for several consecutive years in 2012-13 to allow the conference to increase the number of its teams to 14 in 2012.
"I doubt that will happen," said McGarity after the meeting at which his contract was extended for one year. "It was a one-time agreement, unless the conference develops again. This can be another discussion. But it was the same situation as seven other schools that had to change the rotation of their games. This was done strictly for the realignment of the conference. "
Georgia has traditionally closed its regular football season with matches against three of the school's biggest rivals – Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech. Expanding the calendar to include 12 games has affected this rotation and added one or two teams to the mix. But the Bulldogs ended their conference against Auburn in the majority of its 124 football seasons.
Morehead, the Georgian president since 2013, seemed disconcerted by the fact that breaking with this tradition might upset some fans of the Bulldogs.
"I do not have a lot of reaction to that," said Morehead. "If I understand correctly, the conference transferred Auburn and Tennessee and, you know, they had their reasons for doing it. I guess if I looked at the schedules, the keys would ask me if the Head Coach is happy with the schedule and our Athletic Director has checked it correctly. All these things have been done. "
Morehead said Georgia's main concern was to maintain its annual weekend before the Florida match in Jacksonville.
"Next year we will have (byes) at two critical moments of the season, after Notre Dame and before the Georgia-Florida match," said Morehead. "These are really important things. But I'm relying on Smart Coach for this stuff. "
McGarity assured that fourth year head coach Kirby Smart had fully approved the new calendar setup.
"Absolutely, of course," says McGarity, "Again, I would just say that if there are problems with our staff, we'll let them know, but I think Kirby will be very comfortable with the schedule. you will see in 2020. "
so I would be surprised if that happened. One never says never, but that could change the alignment, unless some things fit into the picture, broadening the conference or (eliminating) divisional reading . But this decision was a single contract, as for three others. "
The Auburn Sports Administration has clearly expressed its desire to move Georgia's game of its new rotation into the schedule because it meant that the Tigers were playing both the Bulldogs and Alabama on the road over the same period. seasons. Auburn defeated Georgia and Alabama at home in 2017 when she represented the West Division in the SEC Championship game, but she lost to the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide when she faced them on the road. last year.
McGarity ignored the notion that he had not pleaded for UGA and that this decision was orchestrated by Auburn and only took into account his concerns. McGarity insisted that he was involved in the decision at the conference and discussed in detail the proposed changes with Smart before agreeing that the game would begin in the early fall.
"Every school defends its own desires," said McGarity. "You enter a room and if you want to discuss some things about moving or changing, there are 14 sports directors doing it. Everyone defends theirs. The only thing we do not do is talk about these conversations. We follow the SEC protocol, which is to talk about it in the room when you develop schedules.
"We advocate for things that no one really knows. This is the purpose of this exercise. You do not speak in public about what we are talking to Commissioner (Greg Sankey) and Mark Womack about planning. On several occasions, they helped us with important tasks for our football coaches. "
Morehead supported that.
"We are working closely with the Commissioner on a variety of issues and we certainly think that all of these decisions are being made in a fair and equitable way," said Morehead. "I'm sure other schools will look at the 2020 program and see much more alarming things for them."