So they fed a little red meat to the Greater Atlanta Bulldog Club last night.
In the midst of rallying the troops for ’07, Mark Richt had this to say about the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party:
Another thing some believe has been in the way of Georgia winning is the location of the game. For three more years it’s scheduled to be in Jacksonville. When that contract is up, Richt would be in favor of moving it.
“Do I truly think it is a neutral site?” Richt said. “No, I don’t. That doesn’t feel very neutral to me. If you want to have a neutral game, let’s have a neutral game in Atlanta. I would not be against rotating the thing around.”
Richt said the two schools’ campuses and Jacksonville could all be considered a part of that rotation.
“Whatever Damon says goes,” Richt added. “The bottom line is we have got to win the game.”
Now I respect Mark Richt greatly. I’ve mentioned before that on the subject of playoffs he walks with the angels. But to blame the location for Georgia’s recent abysmal record against the Gators is nothing more than a cop out.
The game is one of the great traditions of Georgia football. It’s something that a large chunk of the fan base looks forward to every year. It’s also one of the few bones that get thrown to the fans in south Georgia, who one time a year have the shorter drive to the game.
Neutral site games are becoming a trend lately. ‘Bama and FSU are playing in Jacksonville this year. Notre Dame is out shopping for sites as I write this. The Big 12 is looking to put a game in Jerry Jones’ new stadium. And yet we want to abandon the second oldest of these games (the Red River Shootout in Dallas predates us by four years) because the Dawgs haven’t been successful on the field in a while.
Bad idea. The negative PR alone will be awful. Don’t think Urban Meyer won’t have a field day with it in recruiting. Plus, Michael Adams will probably see it as a victory in his epic war against having a good time at football games.
As I said, it’s nothing more than a poor excuse for not winning. Playing in the Gator Bowl wasn’t a problem for Dooley and playing at Alltel shouldn’t have been a problem for Richt (how did he lose two out of three to the Zooker, anyway?).
And let’s not forget the “be careful what you wish for” admonition: what happens if the series goes home and home and Georgia still can’t start winning? Does anyone need to be reminded what the results were the last time the games were played home and home?
Don’t do it, Damon. Please.
UPDATE: Groo has some more thoughts here. He makes a valid point with regard to offensive point totals and our head coach’s mindset going into J’ville.